Thursday, January 27, 2005

Studio Day 15

We spent about an hour and half in the studio tonight. It was just myself and the Mike's. Mike V finished his lead parts for Can't Say No. Really nice and tasteful playing. Just playing the raw mix the song sounds great and we haven't applied any eq or effects at this point. This is going to be best sounding recording to date.

We may get together to finish rhythm guitars on Saturday and then it will be onto the drums. Depending on how I'm feeling I may try to do a run through and get some scratch drums tracks recorded for Lonely One and All About You. Then we can break the parts down and determine if we want to change any of the parts.

The big news at work

Yesterday a project I'd been working on for the better part of 5 months finally was announced to the public. The group I work in now at EarthLink will be spinning off into a new company as a joint venture with SK Telecom.

The worlds most well funded start up with $440M of capitalization.

Here is the new company website

Check the links,,SB110683606875037938,00.html?mod=yahoo_hs&ru=yahoo

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Studio Days 13 and 14

This past week we made it into the studio a couple of more days. Tuesday we recorded acoustic guitars. During the switch over to electric work I got a bit distracted playing with Protools so after about an hour of down time we worked through more of Mike's parts. Nothing worth keeping.

Thursday we worked on Weather Song, recorded some acoustic and got Mike's leads recorded. I'm pleased with the performance and sound of the leads.

Not sure whats next, since I'll be traveling this next week but I believe drumming is once again in my future.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Studio Day 12

Last night we worked on guitars. Katie got a new Martin acoustic that sounds great. We tracked her playing the part twice and it gave a nice full sound. It might be a tiny bit boomy in the mix but we have a good idea of how it will sound on the song.

We also worked on Mike's lead part. Nothing worth keeping yet but we tried a lot of different ideas and I think everyone was pleased with last night's progress.

Hopefully we can complete the rhythms and the lead parts next time and then basic tracks for Can't Say No will be complete.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Studio Day 11

Worked on guitars for The Weather Song. A lot of work is left and nothing was a keeper tonight. Toyed with guitar arrangements and will continue on Thursday.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

6 degrees of music

I got a note from a good friend of mine the other day that he played a gig in LA with Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big / Racer X) and Donnie Vie (E'nuff Z'nuff). I've always loved the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon thing and applying it to music.

Get to Frank Zappa and KISS.

Dean Truitt -> Paul Gilbert (Racer X) -> John Alderete and Bruce
Bouillet (Racer X to The Scream) -> John Corabi (The Scream to Union)
-> Bruce Kulick (Union to KISS)
also gets you to Motley Crue, then you add the Scott Travis (Racer X)
link and that gets you to Judas Priest to Rob Halford to Pat Lachman
(Halford / Damageplan) back to Dimbebag (RIP).
Judas Priest gets you Simon Phillips (Drummer on Sin After Sin I
believe) that links you to Pete Townshend and The Who.

Now to Zappa and beyond.

Dean Truitt -> Paul Gilbert (Mr. Big) -> Billy Sheehan (Mr. Big ->
Steve Vai's Band or DLR) -> Steve Vai (Frank Zappa)
DLR obviously gets you to Van Halen

Frank gets you Adrian Belew which gives you everyone from David Bowie,
King Crimson (Tony Levin, Fripp, Bruford) to YES!!!
Levin gives you Peter Gabriel, to Genesis to Phil Collins to Robert
Plant and now you are linked to the mighty Zeppelin.

Oh come to think of it, Dweezil plays on the new Gene Simmons record, so no need to take the roundabout way to FZ.

Hmm lets see. Dave Navarro is on the new Gene record as well, that gets you to Red Hot Chili Peppers, which gives you Jack Irons, to Pearl Jam, to Matt Cameron (drummer on Geddy's solo album) to Geddy Lee and now we've got Rush.

I can do this all night....

Studio Day 10

A long Saturday in the studio. We worked exlcusively on The Weather Song. The bulk of the evening was me working on a drum part for the song. I've always had a very simple part, not many fills, and I wanted to spice it up a bit. I spent the better part of 3 hours trying different things out, likeing pieces but not happy with anything all the way through. After realizing how much time we had spent I more or less went back to the original drum part and after 3 or 4 very focused takes got a track I was happy with. Only about 4 bars in the song were rough. Some sloppiness on the snare with ghost notes and a little drag and rushing between the bass drum and the snare. I moved the bass drum to lock with the click and took out some of the ghost notes and lined up some sixteenth notes on the snare. I was pretty pleased with that being the only rough edge in the entire song. We will also be adding shakers and tamborine and likely some other production things to spice the track up a bit.

We next spent about an hour or so working and recording the bass. Mike G did a few run throughs and then he did a take with only a couple of glitches. I think either his second or third time through the song we used the bulk of that performance. My part was so locked into the click that he mainly played bass against the click instead of the drums. Only at the very end where the song loosens up did he have to lock into the bass drum instead. After we got his take we had maybe 4 or 5 punch ins across the track we had to deal with. Mike G punched in his fixes and we wrapped things up.

We spent from about 4pm to 9pm working on tracks. I was hoping to get some guitars recorded tonight but that will have to wait until Tuesday. The approach we plan to take will likely be setting up Katie's amp for recording and getting some good electric guitar sounds. At that point we will have drums, bass, and electric guitar set up for recording at any time and then we should be able to continue working through the remaining songs. My current estimate is we will have all the sounds recorded sometime in February. Add another 2-3 weeks for mixing and a week for mastering and we are looking at a March release. Assuming I don't have to go to Korea again.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Studio Day 9

Mike G made it to the studio tonight and we completed the recording of his bass part. A very productive night although only one thing got completed.

I got to the studio a little early and fixed the one drum section at the top of the verse I mentioned in my last post. I also ended up cleaning a stray tom hit that was making one drum fill sound a little too loose. Drums are done.

We decided to mic the bass amp instead of running direct. We used the mic from the lowest floor tom that is designed for low frequencies. I also placed some dividers around the bass. Honestly I'm not sure if it helped or hurt but seeing pictures of "real" studios I decided I'd give it a shot. The theory is it keeps the bass sound focused in front of the amp and prevents other noise from the room bleeding back to the mic. Here is a picture from a real studio of what I was thinking. I need to take a picture of our studio to show what we ended up with.

We spent about an hour and a half working on bass sounds and mic placement. When it was all said and done we got a much better bass tone than we had previously received going direct. Mike V thinks the active pickups on Mike G's bass make running direct a little bit of a challenge. We had Mike G's amp turned up so loud that the building we were in was shaking and rattling. It was amazing we couldn't hear it on the mic. We were joking that the "growl" we thought we were hearing on the bass was really just rattling of windows, walls and light fixtures. We agreed that a real recording engineer came into our studio they would cite it as unfit and impossible to record. When it was all said and done we are dealing with the environment we are in and we believe we are getting some real quality sounds recorded. The best we've done to date.

It took about an hour and half to lay down the bass track and we spent a lot of time working on locking it in with the bass drum. A very nice track with a nice groove behind it.

We get together next on Saturday to work on more guitars, and get The Weather Song to the same level of completion as Can't Say No.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Studio Day 8

Tonight we worked on rhythm guitar tracks for Can't Say No. Mike G, didn't make it to the studio again tonight, not sure why, so we worked exclusively on guitars. Katie didn't realize she'd be recording so she didn't have any of her guitars, she ended up using one of Mike V's Strats to record a clean track direct. Running direct to the Digi 002 wasn't yielding a hot enough signal so we ran it through our rehearsal mixing board. It changed the sound rather dramatically but we think it is good enough. A little eq to thin it out a bit may be used at the end, we also played with the Amp modeler plug-in inside ProTools and found a couple of settings that sounded nice.

Next up was Mike V's rhythm part. It took a couple of hours to track but we got a good sound into ProTools which is better than any of the last sessions, and we got a good peformance out of him. He takes a little bit of persistence to push the performance on the track. He was also giving me a hard time about me wanting to "perfect" the drum track. I really believe cutting ANY corners on a project like this shows, and also would show we aren't taking this as seriously as we can. I honestly believe a producer would kick his ass in the studio. If we aren't at the best we possibly can be it doesn't matter, and excuses like the Stones play loose aren't good enough either. The Stones haven't released a relevant studio recording in nearly 20 years.

Enough of the rant... I did go back in a tinkered with the drum track. I found three minor blemishes, one bass drum kick, the drums at the top of a verse, and one drum fill. Protools makes it a breeze to fix bass drums, I moved it up 1/32nd of a measure and got it to sync back to the click track. For the drum fill it was a little different approach. The fill itself started early, then I slowed down to get back onto the click, and then slowed too much so I sped up the last part of the fill. Pretty ugly, Mike V said he couldn't tell, or that it wasn't big enough to worry about. Fortunately I had played the exact same fill later in the song, so I cut from the good take, pasted over the bad take. Sounded great except for the early start of the fill, I cut that out and voila, a perfect drum fill!

I still have to fix the drums at the very start of a verse but that should be easy enough to fix. After one more session of a minor surgery I'll deem the drum track complete.

At the end of the night I did one pass of the drums on The Weather Song to get Mike V's feedback. Overrall he liked the part, just a couple of minor changes and I'll need to strengthen the backbeat on the chorus and that should be it. On Thursday I'll track the drums and we will continue recording guitar parts and the bass track for Can't Say No.

Monday, January 03, 2005

The Other Side of the Net

Wired has an article on the trading and distribution of copyrighted works on the net. The article makes a good read.

It calls out about the old days of Commodore 64 trading. I wonder if an old friend "Ben" is still involved with these groups. He was definitely the king of Amiga trading back in the day.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Dimebag Guitar Pick

As I've been scanning tickets and picks from past shows I've been to, I came across a Cowboys From Hell era "Diamond" Darrell guitar pick that I got at the club show in support of Far Beyond Driven in 1994.

Check it out, along with Rex's pick.

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