The Linear Canvas
This journal is about the wrongs and rights of the world, as I see them.

The Linear Canvas

My Newest Recording – Billy

July 29th, 2010 . by Alexander Fisher

chimney I could write a book or make a movie about my childhood friend Billy Thompson. But I doubt anyone would believe some of it. His parents and mine were very close as all had come from eastern Kentucky to Ohio in the 1950’s and I believe we were distantly related to one, or both of Billy’s parents, Estill and Ann Thompson. I always called Ann “mom” as she always treated me like one of her own. Estill played with a bluegrass band at my father’s funeral. I was close to the whole family and spent many evenings having supper with them and hanging around the cemetery next door smoking cigarettes with Billy.


[audio: Billy.mp3]

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Billy and I had been friends since elementary school and he had made it very clear to me about his bi-sexuality in fifth grade. It caused a little problem at first for me, but after awhile our other common interests, hillbilly parents, partying and music, would draw us together again. I’m not completely sure that he was gay, at least at first. He had a couple of girlfriends during that time. I also remember talking to him about girls while we sat in a tree at the cemetery. I would suggest girls for him but he always said no girl would ever like anyone like him. I think he was just bashful. Billy wasn’t an unattractive person, but he was also not very tall. I was just as scared of girls rejecting me as he was. Billy’s insecurity and height did not help him, no doubt.

By the the time we graduated, Billy and I had gone our separate ways mostly. We had attended the same vocational school and that allowed us to interact on a daily basis until then. After high school though, Billy and I didn’t see each other too much. I had a steady girlfriend and I wasn’t too interested in his new circle of friends. Some time later, Billy and his associates all moved to the west coast. After he lived there for awhile, I found out that he had been killed. I am not sure I know the whole story, but I was told it was no accident.

Billy always lived on the edge and I am surprised this hadn’t happened sooner. A few times I had to come between him and a certain beating by someone who wasn’t very happy with something he had done. Other times I just shook my head and told people, “You know Billy, You should have known better than to trust him.” I thought when I had heard of his death, that being so far from home, there was no one there to protect him. No one knew him like we did. Not a single person would just roll their their eyes and say, “…well you know Billy”.

The analog tracks were originally recorded on a Yamaha MT-100 II 4 track cassette recorder using high speed (3.75 IPS) and dbx noise reduction.

The acoustic guitar I played was a Takamine (maybe a Yamaha). I played electric guitar on a Fender Stratocaster (maybe an Ibanez Les Paul). The bass was a Rickenbacker 4001 (for sure). I recorded the drums more recently using my Ludwig’s. I also added some drum parts using a Yamaha MIDI drum pad and Session Drummer 3.

As on other analog to digital re-mixes I’ve done lately, I had to piece this together from audio tracks that were not in sync. This project was made more difficult because during the original recording, I did not use any rhythm device or metronome, just my own sense of timing. I think I did pretty good, but that made no real consistent timing reference to work with.

I played the original analog tracks into my Fostex VF-16 digital multi-track, then transferred the tracks to my computer. I processed and added audio with Cakewalk Sonar v8.5 Producer and Sony Sound Forge v9.

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