“We should write an album. We’ve been talking about doing it forever,” I said to my good friend, Rena.
She took a sip of her tea.
“I know… We really should.”
I was only home for a few days. I hadn’t seen Rena much since moving to the West coast a year earlier.
“What if we took a month and just wrote and recorded an album?” I asked. “One month, that’s it.”
“Would we do it online and just send the files back and forth?”
“Sure, that’s pretty easy to do these days.”
“We could go to L.A. and do it there…”
My eyes lit up.
It was a preposterous idea. Neither of us had ever been to Los Angeles, though her interest in comedy and mine in television writing had had us pondering the thought in the past.
“Oh my god. Could we?”
In that moment, we both knew we had to do it.
Six months later, on February 1, 2013, Rena flew out to Oregon. We packed up the rental car with instruments and recording gear, set up a bed in the backseat for my puppy and hit the road.
The first song we wrote was about the Yurt we stayed at outside of Ashland, Oregon. The others were written in the apartment we rented in LA, some in the tree house that was built in a lemon tree.
This all might sound dreamy, but it was actually a pretty hard month. We hadn’t written music together in years and we had to overcome serious creative inhibitions. Adjusting to a new environment, navigating LA traffic, missing our loved ones, learning how to be roommates again. It was hard.
But through the sweat and tears, the lyrics that made us collapse in laughter and the botched takes of doo-wop background vocals in our makeshift bedroom studio, we did it. At the end of the month, we had written and recorded a 5 song E.P.
I drove Rena to the bus station on our last day in Los Angeles. She was heading on to Austin while I was driving back to Portland. We had been batting around name ideas for our band all month long and nothing had stuck.
She was telling me a story. I honestly don’t remember what the story was about. I just remember her saying these words: “And it was like, with the tip of the hat we were friends.”
“Tip of the hat.” I exclaimed.
“What do you think of ‘Tip of the Hat’ for a band name?”
“I like it!”
We smiled, big.
“Until next February.”
“Until next February.”
To be a rock star — to be anything — you don’t need a lifetime to dedicate. You just need a small chunk of time to set aside and you need to prioritize your project.
What have you always wanted to do, create or experience? Could you take a short chunk of time and dedicate that time to making it happen?
The debut E.P. by my band, Tip of the Hat is available today, November 26, 2013! Listen to it for free right here.