About this project
Hello lovers of words and music.
Welcome to my Kickstarter. I'm David Berkeley—father of two, husband of one, singer, writer of songs and (most recently) books, lover of food, rivers, and the smell of piñon wood.
We're thrilled to announce that we hit our goal! Thank you to all who gave. That said, you're not too late to get in on the party. We have a new stretch goal of $32,500 that we're now trying hard to hit. If we do hit it, I'll be able to afford to make a music video, and every backer who comes in at $50 or more will get a behind-the-scenes DVD of our recording sessions, in addition to all the other gifts. Yes? Yes. Now back to the project.
I'm currently working on my most exciting project yet: a novella told through ten intertwining stories and an accompanying album of ten songs, one for each story. To pull this off the way I'd like to, I need to ask for a little bit of your help. And you can do so, right now, to the right of this here screen.
First and foremost, I just want your support. I want you to help spread the word. That is more powerful than money. I'd rather you turn ten friends onto my music than give me $10. Truth.
However, if you can do both, that would be great. Producing a high quality album and getting it out there into the world costs a lot. Here are some of of the big ticket items:
- Studio Time We'll be recording in Chupadero, about twenty minutes above where I live in Santa Fe, NM.
- Engineer Jono Manson will be turning the dials. He's really great. But he ain't free.
- Musicians Bill Titus, Jordan Katz, Mathias Kunzli, Will Robertson and Sara Watkins will form the core band. I want to pay earn a living wage and cover all their travel, food and lodging.
- Babysitting When I'm in the studio, someone needs to watch my boys.
- Video I'd like to bring Ehud Lazin out to document the recording on video in the hope that we can also release a DVD and send you clips.
- Mastering I'll probably use Roger Seibel again. He's based in Phoenix and is one of the few who still cut to vinyl should we choose to press vinyl again.
- Artwork I care a lot about how the packaging looks.
- Manufacturing I use AtoZ Media in NY. They're pros.
- Promotional Costs It's the rare music review you hear on NPR of an album that wasn't handed to the staff by a publicist being paid over 3 grand a month!
Ultimately, this project will cost well over $25,000. But I will be forever grateful if you can help me with even a small portion of the costs. In return, of course, I've got all sorts of goodies I'll give you, among them a Skype tour of the studio, a private concert or and personalized song.
Still reading? Well, then, I'll still write.
More Back Story:
Over the past decade, I've recorded five studio albums, which you can listen to at www.davidberkeley.com. Along with my fourth album, Some Kind of Cure, I wrote my first book, a memoir entitled 140 Goats and a Guitar. It told the stories behind the songs on that album, most of which were written after the birth of my first son, Jackson, while we were living on the island of Corsica. The book included a download code for the songs, and the idea was that you would read a story and then listen to the corresponding song. Working on that project got me increasingly interested in what I could do with prose that I couldn't do with songs and vice versa. It also got me excited about the idea of trying my hand at fiction.
Goats is quite confessional. My songs express a good bit of my soul, and the book bared even more. After having done lots of readings from the book and performances of the songs, I found myself wanting to write about other people and other worlds.
A couple years ago on Christmas morning after all the gifts had been opened, I took a run in my then hometown of Berkeley. I passed a really unattractive piece of lawn art: a faux-stone Brontosaurus sitting among unruly jade plants in front of an otherwise unadorned Craftsman house. I kept running, trying to imagine who would find something like that pretty enough to purchase and put out in front of his house. As I continued on, I watched someone pull a coat out of a garbage can and put it on. Then I saw a grey-haired man sitting on a curb, his head in his hand, smoking a cigarette. I ran past them and back home to the smell of baking bread and my kids playing with all their new toys.
The combination of wondering about who would find that Brontosaurus beautiful and seeing those lonely and lost men on Christmas marked the beginning of my book. I began dreaming up narratives of isolation and dislocation, character sketches of people who were slightly off, who didn't fit in. And what if each of them had the gift of seeing or creating beauty in surprising places? I gave all the stories the same setting and time, so the characters had the potential to interact and bump into each other. Ultimately, it was their appreciation for the beautiful that began to pull some of them together and allowed for some kind of redemption.
I wrote each story in third person (or what George Saunders calls the third-person ventriloquist, because each story assumes the tone and some of the inner thoughts of the main character). They're all written intentionally at a slight distance, with a quieter voice than I might otherwise use. That distance, I hope, contributed to a sense of isolation among the characters. It also made room for my songs, which are more emotional, expressive, and are sung in the first person. I wrote them loosely from the perspective of the main character in each story.
So there you have it. A book. An album. Maybe even a DVD. Though I can write the stories and songs without you, I'll have a real hard time recording and bringing the words and music into the world without you. So please consider contributing what you can. But if you can't contribute financially, know that I mean what I say up top—your emotional support is just as important as dinero. And telling people about my music and writing is the most important contribution you can make.
Thanks for reading. Thanks for the love.
Risks and challenges
Most of the risks and challenges are creative. Can I write the stories and the songs and make them work together? This hurdle is more or less behind me; I am nearly done with the book and the songs are finished. Of course, there's still the question of whether it all works. But I have faith that it does and will.
So then the challenges are primarily logistical. Can I coordinate getting all my musicians out to Santa Fe and fit the recording into my already busy schedule of touring and fathering? I believe we've found a window that will work. We'll start on Easter (seems appropriate) and work all through the following week. Then I'll continue to refine the recordings after most of the band goes home.
I'd like to send the book and music to various publishers. That step may delay things because I'll need to wait to hear from them, and they may have a release schedule that I need to fit into. But again, this is just a logistical challenge and not a creative one. Given that I don't have a hard and fast deadline at this point, I'm not too concerned about the timing.
If you can think of other challenges that I'm not considering, please let me know. But if I were backing instead of creating this book and album, I'd feel pretty darn optimistic that this project was going to happen.
With that in mind, if you're ready to chip in, check out the lovely selection of thank-you gifts on the right. And thanks!Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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