Together Again For The First Time

matthew's picture

I have very few friends on the face of this planet. Justin Timpane is one of them. Three of my best friends in high school were Sammy G, Ben Schuman, and Kevin Graham.

So Justin found himself in the possession of a CD, created by Brett Clawson (an acquaintance of his and mine). Sam, Ben, Kevin, and I formed a band in high school called "Wayward Sun". Brett had taken it upon himself to extract the audio from a tape we'd made, entitled "Together Again For The First Time", and put it into CD format. That must have taken hours; I couldn't believe someone would put in that much time.

Well, Justin took it a step further. He ripped all the songs, piped them through Cool Edit, applied some noise reduction and other techniques to restore the sound quality, and here's the result! Unfortunately, our original master was crap, and that's reflected in garbling on a couple of the tracks, but the songs still sound better than they ever did on tape. Click "read more" to read the full description and either download or stream the MP3 files.

All songs are 320kbps MP3, so if the tune sounds bad, blame it on our mastering & recording abilities at the time, not on the MP3. This, unfortunately, means you have absolutely zero chance of streaming these files unless you have a 480kbps or higher connection. (ISDN? Forget it. DSL? Maybe. Cable? Probably, as long as it's not a peak time.)

Wayward Sun was:

  • Jon Brusco: Bass. He left the band before we produced any tapes. If I recall correctly, he and Sam were like peanut butter and motor oil: they just don't make a good sandwich together. Funny that they were my two best friends, but didn't like one another much. Ben replaced him.
  • Ben Schuman: Keyboards, Vocals, Guitar
  • Kevin Graham: Drums, Keyboards, Vocals.
  • Sammy G: Keyboards, Bass Guitar, Vocals.
  • Matt Barnson: Keyboards, Guitar, Vocals.
  • Ed Copeland: Guitar. He replaced me when in 1992 I went on a mission for the LDS church, and was the guitarist featured on "No Further ?", the band's third album.

Yeah, it was kind of funny that we all played the piano. We used this in a couple performances by having all the band members switch positions to play a different instrument. I'll never forget Ben Schuman showing me up on guitar playing a cover of "Silent Lucidity" by Queensryche. I'm still bitter ;)

So, enough with the formalities!

Stream the whole shebang from song 1 to song 10 by clicking this link.

  • Wayward Sun, our title track! I believe Ben's Schuman's exact words, after playing bass on the keyboard at our first rehearsal after Jon Brusco stopped playing bass for us, were "Guys, playing bass for this song is really boring." I think it was at that moment that Sam began saving money towards buying his first bass guitar. Sam, wasn't that bass Jon's old one, actually?
  • A Moment Away From You. Featuring Ben Schuman on lead vocals, this piece forever cemented Kevin Graham's hate of electronic drums, and Matt Barnson's shortcomings as a lead guitarist.
  • Pushing Us Down. The requisite 16-year-old rage against the power of parents. The whole tune started one day when I was goofing off with the Ensoniq synthesizer in the front room of my folks home. Sam was chilling out on the couch in the family room, around the other side of the house. I had it turned up pretty loud. Anyway, I was playing with the sequencing function, just noodling. I noodled for about an hour, then took a break for a minute and heard Sam yell from the next room "Hey, don't stop playing, I'm writing words for that!". Thus the song was born. I think Sam was pissed at his Dad that day. Or was it is his sister? He spent a lot of time pissed in high school :)
  • Wrong Words. Required slow tune. This also was a fun tune to kick around as a quartet at parties. Kevin would sit down to the piano, and the rest of us would crowd around. We'd act like we were so into the music, really artsy-like, all the while eyeing the girls that would inevitably cluster aound us like seagulls on garbage. Mmm, I don't think I like that allegory, but anyway, it was a great chick-grabbing tune :)
  • Madness. This was one of Wayward Sun's signature tunes. We liked it so much that at one of our concerts poolside, we were asked to tone it down by the management. Kevin had a pretty killer double-drumset for that show and from that point on began lusting for double kicks.
  • Mad Mad World. This is Ben, all Ben, except some vocals! This one fits into the "great tune but impossible to play live" category. And made Kevin even more bitter about electronic drums :) If I ever upload our second album, you'll notice that we never had just a drum machine on our next two albums. I sang along with this one yesterday, and realized I could hit the low notes. When we originally recorded it, we had to speed up the tape so that I could. And then Ben overdubbed me anyway ;)
  • Sweet Lori. What was Lori's last name, anyway? I can't remember, but she was one of those "untouchable" girls. She was, to my 15-year-old eyes, incredibly beautiful, delicate-looking, sweet high soprano voice, and acerbic wit that made you think you were stung by a butterfly. Apparently, Sam thought the same and wrote this ode to her.
  • Into The Night. This is, quite possibly, one of the most boring tunes in existence. I wrote it one day following onto the success of Sam's rebellious "Pushing Us Down". I figured I could do "evil" just like Sammy G. I learned that NOBODY does Evil better than Sammy G. And here's the permanent record of it. I click the "skip" button in XMMS (an MP3 player like WinAmp) when I get to this one.
  • The Sky Is Always There. This is, alternatively, titled "This Guy Is Always There" because, well, it's impossible to tell which one is the right words. According to our first-ever concert for, oh, crap, what was my old girlfriend's name? (Edit in February 2005: Her name was Grace. Don't remember the last name, but she was the girlfriend that had pity on me for passing out during photos and cracking my head against the stage floor in high school). Her dad handed us $200 for performing there when we'd agreed to work for $30. That permanently inflated our fragile egos, I think. Anyway, I introduced the song as "written for a dead aunt", and unfortunately pronounced "aunt" "ant". Alas, the imagery of singing to an insect is more powerful than the original intent.
  • On My Way. It provided a nice bookend for the opening tune, but unfortunately our "fast song skills" at that point rendered "Wayward Sun" and "On My Way" as sounding really, really similar. This song is probably most memorable as living on forever as a much slower tune where Ben Schuman lampooned all of our band's tunes. Think Weird Al's "Polkas on 45", but a little stranger.

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Dude, Wayward Sun sucks!

I mean, um... hey, this is Ben (of Wayward Sun). Here's a few comments:

First off, Justin and Brett are NUTS. This must've taken forever. Sounds good tho.

Wayward Sun: I recently found a quasi-live version of this that we did in Kevin's basement that was supposed to sound "rough" and simply comes off sounding ridiculous. I'll have to send you a copy - it's a hoot.
Just a Moment Away From You: Man, what a piece of crap ;) But hey dude, that's not electronic drums on that recording. That's 100% Organic Kevin Graham. He hated my original sequenced version so much that he made us re-record it with real drums.
Pushing Us Down: I remember sending this album to Sony Records in NY, and them telling us that this was the one good song on the album. The AR rep said it sounded "European". I've never figured that out.
Wrong Words: I've always liked this song. It's so simple. This is also the recording in which we (sorta) figured out how to record an acoustic guitar.
Madness: Another one of Sam's songs about trying to get some chick into bed. Featuring my dad on the high harmony in the beginning.
Mad Mad World: Um, what the hell was I smoking? It's like a cross between a John Williams movie score and bad funk. Not to mention some of the worst lyrics I've ever written. Bad Bad World.
Sweet Lori: I'd totally forgotten this song even existed. Not bad. Nice use of the Korg strings. :) Oh, and I remember Sam buying the Korg T1 instead of taking Lori to the prom. Stupid, stupid.
Into the Night: You're quasi-evil. You're like the Diet Coke of evil: Just one calorie, not evil enough. Ah well. And why is it that on this whole album, I sound like I have a cold?
The Sky Is Always There: Another song I'd totally forgotten about. An extended experiment with that piano/strings thing on the Proteus. Good hook, harmonies, etc. Too bad we missed the boy band craze by about 7 years.
On My Way: A perfect example of why I should never be allowed to sing lead vocals. The bizarre schizophrenic performance of this song is the result of a failed experiment in which I alternated the lines with chorus as in "Still Rock and Roll To Me". When it turned out to suck, I removed the chorus, but forgot to re-record the lead vocal. Hence, suckitude. Oh hey Matt, what's a headrun?

matthew's picture

Headrun?

"Oh hey Matt, what's a headrun?"

You gotta ask Sam about that one. I had other lyrics there that Sam said sucked so he nixed them and threw in his own. Same thing with the chorus -- I remember I had something different than "fly through the wind" in there, like "I want to win" or some other stuff. "On My Way" is all my music, but the lyrics & melody on it were really half Sam, half me.

I like to think I'm responsible for the better chunks, but it's pretty blurred by time at this point!

--
Matthew P. Barnson

matthew's picture

Cold...

"And why is it that on this whole album, I sound like I have a cold?"

Dude, you *did* have a cold the whole time. I remember you sniffling a lot during the three (was it three? Maybe four?) weekends we were recording this. I even remember us having to damp one track on the mix, if I recall correctly, to account for your sniff...

Add to that my need for an emergency tonsilectomy on the next one, and we were like the sick parade :)

EDIT: I found the sniff! It's right at the start of "Sweet Lori". About 2 seconds, maybe 3 in. Gotta mail you to let you know, dude :)

--
Matthew P. Barnson

WAYWARD SUN

Well, perhaps its too little too late, but I'm glad the guys get to have a kick out of this. Hi, I'm justin, the guy who cleaned up the tracks, and the official Wayward Sun High School years groupie.

Seriously, the music of WS has nostalgic value to me, as the two tapes got me through some of the weirdest times in my life.. (and I am proud to say, I was the cover artist for the 2nd tape)..

That being said, here's a new topic for the band..
WAYWARD SUN'S Top 10 Greatest hits..
From an outside caller..

1. House Of Dreams
2. All Over Again (CD Version)
3. One Man (Tape Version)
4. That one that started with "God's Easel"
5. Compulsive Fire
6. The Sky is Always there (This Guy is always There)
7. Don't Let This Song Pass You By
8. Destination Nowhere
9. Pushing us Down
10. Breathless (Or as my wife calls it "Breakfast")

So for all 3 readers of this list.. hope you like it
Ohh. and did you know there's a whole album of my stuff up at www.timpane.com/mp3

Justin

Made an impact

For the 4 people who are reading this thread...well, for the 4 people who will EVER read this thread...this is Sammy G, formely known as Dudewhoworethatobnoxiousshmataonhishead, or Wayward Sun's bassist.

The last time I was in Gaitherburg, MD, visiting the homestead, the Washington Post ran a feature story on wealthy individuals who were able to retain a-list musical acts to play for personal parties. Lawyers and businessman had hired celebrated superstars to play weddings and bar-mitzvhahs. We played the "if money wasn't an object" game and went around the table to see who would want what group.

My Mom stated Wayward Sun without hesitation. The scary thing is, she's not kidding. She said that before she died she wants a reunion show.

I guess that's the impact we had on some people. It's good to know that our music touched some peoples' lives. Even if it was our the lives of our mothers.

Sammy G

What a lyrical genius. Where can I find more of his work??!??

home studio?

Hi: You have a home recording studio?

What do you think about CCRMA?
http://ccrma-www.stanford.edu/planetccrma/software/

How about AGNULA?
http://www.agnula.org/

Thanks,
Tom Poe
Open Studios
Reno, NV
http://www.studioforrecording.org/

matthew's picture

About my "Home Studio"

Yes, I have a "studio" in my home. Such as it is :) When I need an isolation booth, I drape blankets over furniture and PVC pipes. When I need quiet for recording, I wait until around midnight and use good headphones. I'm using a pair of cardoid mikes preamped into my line-in in order to record using multiple inputs to my Soundblaster Live! 5.1. My DAW is just a PC in the corner of my front room, with guitars, cables, and my keyboard all jacked in. And I need a real mixer. But you can do a lot in a rudimentary home studio if you're willing to put in a lot of time.

Anyway, when it comes to CCRMA, I think it's a really great GNU/Linux mod to any Redhat system. You can do a lot with the available tools on Linux, and CCRMA really makes it a ton easier. Unfortunately, though, it's not quite to the state-of-the-art yet (though I expect it will catch up within 2-3 years, easily). Certain things, like handling DXi or VST plugins, aren't available on your GNU/Linux-based recording studios. So, despite my love for Linux, my home recording is based on Windows XP.

That said, for someone looking to get into home studio recording without the expense, CCRMA is probably the way to go. It's incredibly easy to install (rpm -ivh apt-something.rpm; apt-get update; apt-get install packages), and with a little time spent learning the tools easily beats the crap out of any analog 4,6, or 8-track on the planet. There are some pretty nifty digital effects available, and you can have an all-in-one DAW that will get you to mid-80's quality (of engineering) music with zero out of pocket expense on software. If you have a PC and some spare hard drive space, and have no money to blow a couple grand on a good home studio setup, that's definitely a good way to go.

Agnula is also a great approach (for those unfamiliar with it, it's Debian GNU/Linux oriented towards DAW [Digital Audio Workstation] needs). I think it fills a great niche for those who prefer Debian to Redhat. Other than that, I can't really comment on it. It's also a binary distribution like CCRMA, rather than source. It's not terribly important for average performance, but there are often optimizations you can do using source on certain hardware that are dangerous to do on other hardware. These really give you an edge in those corner situations where you've got fifty tracks going with multiple effects and your CPU is pegged at 88% all the time.

I used to use Linux a lot for audio work as well. I have several projects in "Multitrack" format, but unfortunately the author has stopped development on that TCL/TK-based project so they are kind of useless. Burning CDs is a ton more reliable for me in Linux than Windows, and Timidity is a pretty good software synth to convert MIDI to .wav. I reboot regularly to GNU/Linux, but my distribution of choice for DAW work is Gentoo. Gentoo has all the same audio apps as CCRMA and Agnula (didn't it used to be called DeMuDi?), and builds into a very fast, stable system. Agnula, CCRMA, and Gentoo are all fine sources for systems easily optimized for your digital audio needs.

I've been following the Ardour project very closely. The releases are improving dramatically as this beta grows older, and I'm excited for the release. For this winter's album, I'm certain I won't be using it, since I just purchased Cakewalk Sonar 2.2 and the last time I tried Ardour it crashed to much to be usable. However, for projects I'll be working on past that point, I'll definitely be getting into it. And, as I'm saving money for a pro audio card and pro MIDI card, I'll be making sure it's one that is well-supported by the Linux kernel and Ardour.

Tom, do you do pre-mastering or remix work? I've been looking for another pair of ears to do the tape saturation, compression, EQ, and levelling work on my album coming out in December. Let me know your rates, I'm looking at an 11-track CD that I'm pretty certain I'll be "too close" to by December to create a high-quality master on.

--
Matthew P. Barnson

Obviously more than 4 people read this!

If you want to know why I originally ripped the songs off the cassette, it's because my wife is sick of storing the millions of cassettes I collected in High School. Oh, and some time earlier, Justin mentioned that he wished he had a copy of Together Again for the First Time.

Yes, it did take hours, and I almost lost the whole thing when the 12 year old tape got stuck in my $20 boom box. That could explain some of the garbling that Justin tried to clean up.

Anyway, I'm glad you guys are enjoying it, and considering the time frame, I thought 'boom box' would be the appropriate words to use.

throwing panties

Hi! Some other people *are* reading this, because a certain UMBC graduate was poking around on the internet in the wee hours of the morning, and found this. And forwarded it to me, because we've been wondering what happened to our college pals.

I just got married. Fel just got into anesthesia school.

Wow!

- Morit Chatlynne-Holmes

This is GREAT--but whatever happened to the Floogie?!

First, hi, Matt--I'm sure you don't remember me! You dated my best friend, Jenny (Furst), for a few months in...1990?...and I don't think I met you more than twice. Nice to see you're doing well, however! Anyway, somewhere during that time I acquired a copy of a copy of a Wayward Sun tape, which we both listened to quite a lot at the time (particularly "The Sky Is Always There"--I remember there was one point in that one where we'd always stop talking so we could listen), and which I still have somewhere. It's *labeled* "Together Again for the First Time," but it had a couple other songs I don't see here, so I'm not sure where exactly it came from: besides the Floogie song, it had an a cappella one (all Ben? I think Jenny said it was all someone...) that I think was called "My Father's Tears" and I can't remember what else, if anything.

Anyway, I googled "Wayward Sun" in a fit of nostalgia, and have totally enjoyed hearing these again--I actually downloaded the whole thing on my glacial dialup connection and made a CD--and I never intended to post here, but I couldn't resist asking about the others on my tape. I hope you still have them somewhere! :)

Karin Maloney

matthew's picture

Karin

You're the third person to ask about "Floogie" in the last month :) Seems there's a trend...

Wait, Karin -- were you the one with Jen when we went through the "Joy of Sex" up in Jenny's bedroom? (Noble readers, take note, nothing depicted on the pages happened in that bedroom). If I recall, you were the one that named a particular picture "Breastige meets Peenie"...

Umm, if that wasn't you, I'm now terrifically embarassed :)

As for the other songs, alas, I don't have any of them on tape. I keep begging Ben to ship me the old six-track, along with all the tapes we recorded, so I could re-master the tunes while the hardware and tapes have a chance of still sounding OK. The stuff is currently in his grandmother's basement, but after two years, it's yet to happen :( Maybe Ben Schuman will see this page and feel guilty one day :)

--
Matthew P. Barnson

--
Matthew P. Barnson

umm...

No; I would *definitely* remember that! (And besides, I don't think I'm that creative...) But it's a great story--I'm sure your other four readers will enjoy it! :)

I'll have to check back now and then to see if Ben ever ponies up those tapes! Since I brought it up, you may or may not be amused to know that my mom, a fairly down-to-earth, professional-type CPA, got busted by a coworker way back when, listening to Floogie full blast in her car before going in to work one day! Apparently her coworker saw her there and went over to her car to walk in with her, and was pretty surprised to hear what she was listening to!

Anyway, thanks again for the memories!

Karin

matthew's picture

Definitely embarassed...

Yep, yep, definitely embarassed, that's me. Now I just need Jennifer Furst to stop by and tell me who the heck that was with us in the bedroom reviewing that book.

--
Matthew P. Barnson

--
Matthew P. Barnson

Ben's picture

MORIT!

I only just saw this -- drop me an email -- bdschuman@hotmail.com

--
Ben Schuman
Mad, Mad Tenor

--
Ben