I Know A Guy Named Dan Huff

December 3, 2008 9:15 AM

My good friend Dan Huff came to visit last week, and he brought copies of his new album. Dan is the most prolific songwriter and music maker I know, and absolutely one of my greatest influences. Writing and recording can be daunting tasks for normal musicians, but Dan has a love for music so intense that no barrier ever stands in his way. If Dan Huff can record an entire album in the back of his truck, then there are no excuses for the rest of us. Nothing should get between the artist and the audio tape. That's why Dan's newest album is so important. You can listen to some samples on his myspace page, but he's given me permission to post the album in its entirety on the internet, and I think you Mefites would be particularly interested in listening to it.

So here it is:

MUSIC FOR MUSICIANS OR: How to make a 60-minute album in less than 8 hours for about $200 as performed by the Dan Huff Solo Experiments (68.5MB ZIP file)

Now, I have to warn you, it takes a special ear to really appreciate a Dan Huff album. You might think that it sounds terrible. What you really need to do is listen to the potential of the music. Shine it up a little bit, and you could find a pretty great song. Dan's music isn't about saving up for that expensive guitar at the store, or buying fancy microphones, or renting a studio, or taking years of guitar lessons. It's about capturing music and ideas in their most raw state, and moving forward instead of tweaking, procrastinating, and digging yourself into a creative rut. Why is this important? I've had so many ideas go unrecorded because I didn't think I could make them sound good enough. I didn't have the right microphone. I didn't have the right instruments. I couldn't play the part well enough. I didn't have the right software on my computer. All of that goes away when Dan Huff drives his truck out to the Walmart parking lot and records whatever's in his head through a $5 microphone into a battery operated 4-track recorder. If you have music inside you, there are no excuses anymore. Get it out.

One more thing: If anyone does a Dan Huff cover and posts it to Metafilter Music, they will earn my unending love and respect, especially if that song is a totally rockin' cover of "Page 14."

posted by buriednexttoyou (8 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Oh, and about the song, these are all true stories about Dan, and I recorded it in one take because that's how he would have wanted it. Here are the lyrics:

I know a guy named Dan Huff
I know a guy named Dan Huff
I know a guy named Dan Huff
I know a guy named Dan

One Halloween, Dan dressed up like Emo Phillips
He went to Emo Phillips' mom's house
When Emo Phillips' mom came to the door
She said "Who are you supposed to be?"


One time Dan put together a band
We were supposed to play in a basement
But that show got cancelled, so instead we wound up
Ruining this girl's confirmation party


One time Dan was getting married
But before the wedding, we went to a pawn shop
And ate some hot dogs
And Dan got his hair cut at Wal-Mart


Dan only has one tattoo
It's on his arm
It's a goofy looking face that says "Weirdo" written underneath it
It looks like it was drawn on with a ball-point pen


Dan does this thing when he's at restaurants
It's called "The Napkin Trick"
I really shouldn't try to explain it
But if you're ever in a restaurant with Dan Huff, ask about "The Napkin Trick"

posted by buriednexttoyou at 9:22 AM on December 3, 2008

I like this song very much, mister. The Emo Phillips verse killed me.
posted by cortex at 12:18 PM on December 3, 2008

That Seattle song is funny stuff, this is pretty cool too. I listened to that page 14 song, I wish his guitar was in tune......but I think he said something like how he refuses to tune later in the album. I can dig the idea behind the album, nice and raw and I'm guessing those were all first takes but it's hard to listen to an out of tune guitar.
posted by BrnP84 at 12:21 PM on December 3, 2008

Inspiring . . I checked out some Dan Huff myspace and while its not exactly my thing I can appreciate everything you're saying here. Many's the night I could have used some Huffism on a project that was stuck in the too-much-deliberation zone.
As for your track, I dig the vocal style - I'm hearing kind of a John Darnielle meets Jello Biafra thing, but that's probably just me.
posted by arcanecrowbar at 2:25 PM on December 3, 2008

Thx for the link to his record. There's some great stuff there. I really like lo-fi stuff, but I don't think that's the reason I like it. What I like it about it is that it's unrehearsed nearly to the point of being improvised, it's poorly recorded, carelessly tuned and performed and it still sounds more musical than a lot of perfectly pruned records. Man, it sounds more musical than that 13 million dollar record Guns N' Roses just put out.

I like his spirit (">Here's a brief word about tuning: Don't. By the time you finish tuning, I've finished a song.") and I like the results. Great stuff.
posted by micayetoca at 6:01 AM on December 5, 2008

"...here's what you do: reach into the front seat, turn on the radio, listen to the first nine songs, figure out what they are about and don't write anything like that."

This guy should be in charge of the Culture Ministry of his country.
posted by micayetoca at 6:08 AM on December 5, 2008

Micayetoca, I knew you'd get it. I've got about 9 other Dan Huff albums, and if you ever want me to burn you copies, send me a me-mail and I'll mail 'em out. There's something about them that just feels like good luck.
posted by buriednexttoyou at 6:31 PM on December 5, 2008

I had some time at work tonight and gave Dan's album another listen to and I gotta say it's pretty damn funny. I only listened to a few of his tracks before and it didn't sound very pleasant at the time, still didn't sound too pleasant tonight but it was pretty hilarious. I like how he said to buy a nice expensive 10$ mic or at the least the 5$ mics but he definetely doesn't recommend the cheap 1$ mics, and the part where he snuck into the music school was awesome. His advice on learning to write songs is pretty good stuff, I kinda feel the same way, learning covers is a great way to learn to write songs and for those who despise the idea of doing covers should just suck it up. I wouldn't really categorize what he's doing as a music album, I don't really know what to call it b/c it's not really all that musical.....but it's a pretty cool idea, very Mcguyver way of recording sound. Sadly I don't see a market for him on the radio, but I don't think he'd care.
posted by BrnP84 at 11:15 PM on December 12, 2008

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