around september 2017, i was invited to join the house band of a local community center.
after talking for a while about repertoire with Pierre Frappier, the musical director, i suggested that we choose the songs we were going to play so as to tell a story. and since the center was helping people with mental health and drug-related issues, i suggested that the story be about addiction. the idea caught on.
as the song selection process unfolded, we decided to actually write music of our own. quickly the idea of creating some kind of rock opera, or conceptual live show, seemed very appealing, but none of us had any experience with that kind of project.
so i began mindmapping ideas, but the mindmap quickly turned into an open office document, and soon enough i was writing a rough chronology of the events in the life of the main character, in the aim of building some sort of « story bible » to refer to so as the organize the whole thing. i ended up writing about 90 pages of events, or scenes, or moments, i'm not quite sure which term best applies, and also built an actual visual timeline. as the writing progressed, the scenes became more detailed, so while the beginning was more sketchy and basic, the more recent pages were closer to a novel, but without the dialog.
during that phase, as the story unfolded, inspiration came for about 20 songs, for which i made fairly complete demos, all in midi format for the moment. i'm not sure if that's how one is supposed to write a rock opera, but that's how it happened in this instance.
the project's tentative title is « La Côte d'Abraham, » in reference to Abraham Maslow's hierarchy of needs, which can be seen as a hill people have to climb, and which plays an inspirational role in the life of the main character. it's also the name of the main road that connects downtown and uptown here in Québec City.
sadly enough though, the project was shelved when Pierre had to retire because of health issues. in the meantime, i started writing an essay on social organization, triggered by conversations with social workers while researching certain aspects of the life of a homeless drug addict, such as details about how things work in a shelter, and that sort of stuff. even more sadly, a few months later Pierre lost his fight against cancer.
the project is still on the shelves, and there's currently no plan to push it further, mostly because of time and resources related constraints. that being said, as means become available, i hope to be able to release some of the songs inspired by the story.
below this post you'll find an excerpt of a very crude demo, made using VST instruments only, of one of the musical themes, which is entitled « Relapse. »
i hope you enjoy this preview.
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