Saturday, December 5, 2009

Home, 12:47pm

Got home from Arlyn Studios at 6:30am but will get to that.

Tessmer gig at Friends went pretty well, good crowd despite the cold--helped when they finally shut the front door, first band was all bundled up onstage... The SVT-II and the new speakers sounded really good, was even contemplating adding another 12ax7 in it since I could turn it past noon on the volume and still feel like I needed a little more gain. Set going well, people dancing. Then about 2 hours in it totally died on me. Power gone, nothing. SHIT!!! Grabbed the Acoustic B-200H which I brought for just such an occurrence but IT wasn't working either! My trusty backup amp had the red "clip" light going and no signal... Well shit. Thank you good night.

Tried not to be too mad about it, but blowing up 2 amps (one of which I just got out of the shop and was feeling good about, the other a trusty go-to amp) during one show drives me to distraction. That with all the bass amp problems I had last year... Speaking of which, when I went into Strait Music the other day looking for speakers the store manager Clint came up to me and asked if I was having some bass amp/tech issues last year. Which I did.

Long story short, took my SVT to their tech Eli January last year for a re-tube right before the Truckers 6-week winter tour and not only did he lie about when it was ready but it blew up on me first show in for that long run. Went to get my money back from Eli when back in town and he got mad and walking away called me an asshole under his breath cause I wouldn't shake his hand. Luckily he dissappeared in the back or we would have settled the matter in the parking lot. Filed a complaint with Clint but didn't follow through with it to have him fired, figured my word of mouth alone about him would hurt his already shoddy reputation enough. But Clint remembered me from a year and a half ago and came up to inform me that Eli was no longer working there. Wow, now that is customer service.

Anyway. Mood was soured a bit for the recording session after the gig. Caravaned it to Arlyn Studios off South Congress a stone's throw from the Continental Club and loaded in/set up. Goal was to finish the whole damn album (organ and sax for one song, as many bass tracks as I could do, all lead and backing vocals) that night. Seemed a Herculean undertaking but not out of the realm of possibility. But problems immediately arose. Settings on the board all jacked, recordings not labeled in a way that made sense, and nothing seemed to work properly at first. Michael's first pass on 'Green Diamond pt 2' was amazing. They had a Hammond B3 and a Leslie cabinet which words cannot describe how beautiful it sounded. But something went wrong and he had to redo it, about 4 times in all. Sucks to have lost that first take. He nailed his sax part on same track in one pass. Awesome, my turn.

They wanted me to DI using some tube preamp but my SVT and Isovent cab were already set up in an isolation booth, and I just spent $200 on those speakers and damned if I wasn't going to use them! That and my bass tone is an old 70's tube amp sound, which direct-in can't really replicate. That and I use my Big Muff as a boost in places, which engineers have always discouraged me from using any pedals. Well, shit. You aren't recording the guitar straight in with no effects, why should bass be any different?!? Took awhile to sort out some audio prblems before I finally was able to make a pass at it. Which had to be scrapped for technical problems. After about 4 takes we finally got it. But all the technical problems and the weird vibe with the engineer really wasted a lot of time. Evidently there was an issue between Tessmer and engineer, and it took them awhile to sort it out. Which only further spoiled the engineer's already sour mood (late night and gear problems which were totally beyond his control or doing), making him a little hard to be around.

But fuck it, we got one song done. Yay. 7 to go. We already have Saturday Jan 23rd booked at Antone's for a CD release so that's cool. Now we just need to finish the CD, heh! Despite not getting nearly enough done last night and some of the shows being less than desireable, this band is fucking amazing. I don't like playing 6th Street, just not my scene, but if I had to do it I'd want to do it with this band. We already had a good vibe as a three-piece playing occasional shows. But now with Michael on board and us playing 3-6 nights a week, this thing is really taking on a life of it's own. Michael brings an added level of professionalism and musical ability that really carries it to the next level. Can't wait to hear what this record will sound like, since it will be very representative of the band right now as it is developing. That and looks like there will be a lot of touring and bigger shows starting next year. Bring it on.

In my heart I miss playing my own music, which I have so little time (if any) for anymore. But I'd rather play full time than work a job. And this band IS my day job now, and it beats the hell out of playing in an 80's New Wave cover band.

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