‘Cereal’ – was written after watching an interview with serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.

‘Cereal’ is the first song on my first solo album, ‘Eating the Cannibal’, released in 2000. The song was written in the mid 90s after I watched an interview on TV with serial killer Jeffery Dahmer.

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IMAGE: ‘The Judge’ by Kenny Schick (the Mannequin Series shot in NYC – no photoshop is used in these images SEE MORE KENNY SCHICK PHOTOGRAPHY HERE).

Given his actions and crimes, I was expecting to witness a total nut job blabber incoherently, something like Charles Manson, but what I saw was a very articulate and well spoken man who fully comprehended the questions being asked and was very aware and forthright about what he had done.

He took full responsibility and seemed to have a great deal of insight (or perhaps hindsight) about how things progressed and went wrong. Listening to his explanation of his ‘process,’ as demented and wrong as his actions were, there was a logic and progression that is not unlike how an artist or scientist would move forward with an idea or concept.

It felt very strange to be able to ‘understand’ what was truly not ‘understandable’ — to think that someone who spoke so rationally about something so irrational was just another human being who somehow just slowly slipped into such an unimaginable space.

People find many ways to find thrills in the world — mountain climbing, skydiving, snake handling, heroin, and so many things others would call crazy. People do so many things they know they shouldn’t — cheat on spouses, steal, embezzle money, torture other humans — the sky is the limit.

It struck me that the most saintly human may just be one odd thought process away from becoming the most hideous human — that a series of experiences and/or choices could change one’s direction forever.

Because I don’t really like to write songs that are immediately obvious, and perhaps because the subject matter is so uncomfortable, I stuck to my usual obtuse method of lyric writing. Even using the ‘incorrect’ spelling ‘Cereal’ (which sort of reminded me of kid’s sweet cereal that is so yummy and attractive but so bad for you) instead of Serial was sort of way of putting a mask on a song that written too literally could be too confronting.

I like to allow room for listeners to make up their own meanings to songs so they can relate them to their own personal life experiences rather than to just shove my thoughts and experiences down their throats.

The song was originally recorded to an old black face ADAT, and for the re-release, I imported the files off the ADAT into Pro Tools so I could remix the song with more control and re-sing the lead vocal.

HEAR THE SONG HERE and let me know what you think, of the song, of the music of the thought process anything.

Kenny

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My Past and Present in the Music Industry – Dot 3 & Kenny Schick

 
I am a proponent of ‘living in the moment’ for sure. Though it is interesting to go back in time and important to look ahead to the future, it is easy to go beyond simple reflection or intelligent forethought into the unproductive realm(s) of ‘dwelling in the past’ or ‘worrying about the future’–both very paralyzing states of mind. Yet often we get so wound up in the moment–the whirlwind of our complicated lives–that we forget to see where we are going or enjoy the accomplishments of our past. The other day I received a flashback moment in an email–something that made me realize just how long and successful a career I have had in the music industry. It was one of those very reaffirming moments we all need from time to time. 
 
In all the running around getting ready for the CD release party for my 5th solo CD, I went to an open mic at the venue where my CD party would be held the next day to perform and do some final promotion. As I threw my guitar and cable in the trunk(a specialized cable for the Trance Audio pickup system  http://tranceaudio.com/  I have in my acoustic guitar), I didn’t realize that the cable was not all the way in the trunk. It was hanging out, which would have been no big deal, except that it was hanging out just far enough for it’s specialized jack to come in contact with the road. I wound my way up the mountain road to our home/studio in Boulder Creek, and noticed it hanging out of the trunk when I went to pull my guitar out, and then noticed the cable end had been worn down to a nub, obviously dragging behind me all the way home. The system is durable and has been ‘road tested’, but this was a bit too literal interpretation of that concept. In the morning, I contacted Trance Audio to see how I could get one of their cables for the show that night—they are a Santa Cruz company, so they are fairly local. They offered to deliver one directly to me that day! Awesome customer service, I must say. Because of their helpfulness, I gave them a copy of my new CD.
 
Well a few days later, they wrote back and told me my old cable was repaired, and said that my new album was on heavy rotation in their office, but even more amazing was that Laurel(from Trance) sent along a photo of an album(meaning vinyl) in her collection–it was a copy of the self-titled Dot 3 record–my old band from the 80’s! http://www.myspace.com/dot3music ImageShe had been a fan of ours back in the day. Released in 1987, it dawned on me that this album was now over a quarter century old! This was one of those well needed reflective moments–one of those moments that put my life’s work into perspective–that reminded me how much energy, passion, and dedication I have given to my career in music, and further, that all the effort and struggle is, and has been recognized for three decades. 
 
It was 30 years ago I did my first real recording session(the first Dot 3 release in 1984), and that session had an everlasting impact on my life–I was so enamored with the recording process that I learned everything I could about it, and today, recording/production is one of the key focuses of my wife’s and my business, Basement 3 Productions(the ‘3’ in part being a shout out to Dot 3). This simple look back in time reminds me that when I am able to give clients great mixes, orchestration, performances, etc., and it seems relatively easy, that years of learning and painstaking experimentation, countless ‘failures’, and a boundless amount of passion for what I do are the elements responsible for the success, not luck or magic. 
 
This simple little look back in time reminded me how lucky I am to have found a passion like music, and how cool it is to be able to make others so happy fulfilling their dreams in the form of helping them make make a great recording, or by using all the years of musical experience to give them a memorable live performance. Now….back to the present!