At the Open Mic (Cortex vs Los Muchachos Mexicanos)

March 5, 2007 3:50 AM

I liked cortex's song so much I had my band record a backing track for it.

posted by mexican (29 comments total) 56 users marked this as a favorite

posted by cortex at 6:22 AM on March 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

posted by danb at 9:49 AM on March 5, 2007

I mean, that pedal steel? Goddam. God damn.
posted by cortex at 10:24 AM on March 5, 2007

Wow, this is great.
posted by sleepy pete at 10:24 AM on March 5, 2007

Upon further listening, I actually prefer this to the final version that turned up on cortex's album. Seriously, great job, mexican.
posted by danb at 11:08 AM on March 5, 2007

This rocks, though I always sensed cortex's version was ironic because it sounded like it would if you were at an open mic making fun of an open mic.

But my god that pedal guitar is amazing.
posted by mathowie at 12:20 PM on March 5, 2007

Irony and cinema-of-the-real very much in play for the original, yeah. But if I could drum and play slide, I'd probably make a lot of recordings like this one. :)
posted by cortex at 12:22 PM on March 5, 2007

Good job man!
posted by TwoWordReview at 2:50 PM on March 5, 2007

Sweat Fancy Moses!

This is exactly the sort of thing I always hope/imagine people will be posting on meta-music. The pedal is great; it adds so much without taking anything away. Bravo.

Maybe the next MeFi-Album can all be awesome covers and remixes.

Dibs on The Mulp's Greatest Hits
posted by French Fry at 4:28 PM on March 5, 2007

This is great!
posted by snsranch at 4:43 PM on March 5, 2007

Thanks everybody! I'm glad people like it. Cortex's demo recording really did all the work for me, though. Just about everything was defined in the acoustic guitar part. It was like the demo was screaming "rawk me aaayuuuuut!" I heard cortex's real version of this yesterday - after I'd already started working on this track. It was like a totally different song. I think the album version is better for the subject, but the demo stands pretty well on its own as a rock song.

But if I could drum and play slide, I'd probably make a lot of recordings like this one. :)

<secret>the drums are fake (programed in GarageBand)</secret>
This was my first time trying to record with my steel. I picked up a used GFI student model S10 E9 while I was in back in the states over Christmas break this year and have been working on learning how to play it since. It's fun but a lot of work managing all the strings, pedals, and levers.
posted by mexican at 5:21 PM on March 5, 2007

Hey, mexican, yeah! You did a great job with this!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 9:01 PM on March 5, 2007

Well done, mexican - sounds fantastic!
posted by fingers_of_fire at 10:59 PM on March 5, 2007

This is awesome.
posted by basicchannel at 12:05 AM on March 6, 2007

Another vote for awesome. And no one's complimented that fine electric guitar playing too.
posted by Jofus at 5:15 AM on March 8, 2007

How the hell did I miss this? This is just spiffy, no two ways about it.

This is exactly the sort of thing I always hope/imagine people will be posting on meta-music.

Precisely my feelings as well.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:43 PM on March 16, 2007


I'm gonna call dobro --> steel guitar close enough to warrant me being able to portend the future.

(confidential to snsranch: you're gonna want to cut back on the bad cholesterol. Trust me on this one.)
posted by Ynoxas at 6:52 PM on March 16, 2007

Wow, you guys really nailed it. Way to rock that slide!
posted by buriednexttoyou at 3:17 PM on March 31, 2007

Years ago I used to frequent Open Mics. Sick of top forty and other radio fare, I'd hang out on weekends at Deep Ellum appreciating the rawness of talented young people who had not a snowball's chance in Austin of making it anywhere, but they played their guitars and sang their hearts out for the same reasons people climb mountains or swim the english channel: cuz it's there and they need to do it.

Cortex's original version reminds me of that sound. Only a few people in the audience clapping - sometimes even singing along, cuz it's mostly friends supporting one another. Cortex nailed the feeling, that's for sure.

This version though? This brings up those rare memories. You're sitting there drinking a beer, the previous artist walks off the stage and the joint's inhouse emcee gets the mic and he reminds us to tip the waitresses and deals with whatever piddly ass shit his boss told him to ramble on about (oftentimes he WAS the owner/boss so he'd ramble on too much of course - hell it's his place) and behind him... behind him something strange was going on.

Maybe it'd be a woman with a shy smile and mischievous eyes harboring a secret, hiding a voice that Joan Jett would sell her soul to get.

Maybe it'd be a guy with long grey hair and a beat up old axe that you know was around before Jimi set his on fire, and fingers that you will swear could set this guitar on fire and almost do.

Maybe it was some upstart looking fuck you you hoped was gonna suck cuz he looked like an asshole, and he brings two guitars rigged up so he'll be able to play them both at the same time - show off.

Maybe it'd be a group of people with instruments you'd only seen in museums. Ancient accordian. Ukelele. Some weird crazy harp looking thing. Or you never'd seen them before. Maybe instruments that looked like they'd been made out of car parts or household appliances. Crazy ass shit.

Maybe it's six native americans and all they brought were various kinds of drums. How can just drums be any good? learn a powerful lesson that night. In the right hands, one bongo can be a symphony.

Maybe it'd be a curious dark gothy couple who probably drank one another's blood when they pledged undying love to one another, obviously loved one another, but obviously loved their instruments even more.

They'd set up as the blowhard emcee said his piece. He'd introduce them. They'd start off slow and you're still chuckling with your friends, but then a hush falls over the room.. except for the beautiful noise coming from the stage.

The dozen or so people who were still there would find themselves transfixed and transported -- this is why they come, on the off chance that you pay the cover and buy the outrageously priced drink, so that you can hear the bowels of hell or the chariots of heaven ride past you.

This is why you're here - to hear something precious and special and not boxed by committee or subjugated to stupidity. And by the end of their set you'd realized you experienced something that had never happened before and would never happen again. Something magic had been set loose to run in and out of the ears of all present witnesses, and dissipated almost as fast as it arrived. Then without any ceremony or circumstance, they'd make their goodbyes and dutifully vacate the stage for an artist who knows they're fucked - cuz they would not top that this night.

You leave the place that night like the last survivor of a horror movie. No one's going to believe your tale, and fewer still would care, cuz they weren't there. They won't know.

And granted you signed up for their mailing list, and bought their CD, and you hope next time you go they'll be just as good or better, and sometimes they are and sometimes it was just some crazy coincidence of that night something paranormal and unexplainable and you know why they say lightning never strikes twice but for that night for that little bit of time you witnessed greatness.

This version of At The Open Mic captures that little lightning bug of greatness and corks it in a bottle. Only took 3.3 megs huh? I always thought you'd need more than that. Huh.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:56 PM on April 11, 2007 [19 favorites]

posted by MythMaker at 10:24 AM on April 25, 2007

Pedal steel is so fucking cool.

Nice, nice job to both of you. Stuff like this makes me want to play rock n' roll.
posted by rossination at 11:12 PM on April 25, 2007

I loved this.
And the trip in ZachsMind's Wayback Machine.

You know what would be awesome? For this to spread through the internets and turn up at some random Open Mic night at a bar somewhere in the big ol' world.

(With acknowledgments and props to the origin, of course!)
posted by squasha at 12:42 AM on April 26, 2007

This is wonderful stuff (both original and mexican's backing track). If I could make one little suggestion to this one, though... the first time that "everybody claps" is sung, it is hard to hear what he's saying (unless you already know the word is "claps" from hearing the earlier version). I think it's important to understand that word the first time it is heard and it gets a bit drowned out.
posted by spock at 1:59 PM on April 26, 2007

Spock: "the first time that "everybody claps" is sung, it is hard to hear what he's saying..."

Listening to it again, I gotta agree with Spock. The word "claps" needs to be heard at the beginning, and the music drowns it. Also perhaps it comes in early. Don't want to unveil the steel too soon...

Listening to it another time, Mexican's instinct of when to come in is right and I'm wrong, but instead of going up with it, you should fade down. You wanna come in right then, but in Post you should fade the sound down (not out just down) just as Cortex goes "Everybody claps." Don't touch anything else...

Listening to it another other time.. forget I said anything. Forget Spock said anything. Leave it as it is. Why risk screwing with greatness? I still agree with Spock but I'm afraid to jinx it.

You know what I wish? I wish we could get a dozen different renditions of this song, done by a dozen different artists, all of which have had personal experience at Open Mic's. Then maybe splice all the different sounds together somehow and end it with a crazy singsong kinda choir effect somehow...

You know what I wish? I wish I knew when to stop typing.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:24 PM on April 27, 2007

Wow! How fun to be compared to a group of six native americans with drums!

I kind of agree with spock about the first "everybody claps". I wanted to get rid of the vocals all together at that part and just have the band. I liked where the "... girl that broke your heart" phrase ended and thought that the "everybody claps" bit rounded out the vocal melody in a way that was too typical. I didn't have separate acoustic guitar and vocal tracks so l had to choose between loosing the acoustic guitar and just drowning out the vocal, so I went with the latter mostly out of laziness but partly because I'm not usually one to shy away from drowning out a vocalist.
posted by mexican at 4:30 AM on May 7, 2007

Drown my ass out any time you like, sir.
posted by cortex at 12:51 PM on May 9, 2007

this is excellent, really. Thanks
posted by nicolin at 2:31 AM on June 8, 2007

Fantastic. Thanks.
posted by misha at 1:14 PM on June 21, 2007

Wow, dude. This is amazing. I love this style. In fact, Sam Hart sounds a lot like you, which is definitely a good thing.
Note: I will definitely play this sometime at an open mic. (With props to you, of course)
posted by MHPlost at 11:09 AM on November 21, 2010

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