Thursday, June 27, 2013

Studio report, Gearing up to hit the road.

Wow. Long week. But a good week.

Spent about 3 days in the Dripping Springs studio with producer Chet Himes recording the Jason Patten album.

The studio:

Went great! The studio was beautiful and nestled in the Texas Hill Country, away from it all but also only 20 miles from Austin. The playbacks sounded great, and Chet is awesome to work with. Didn't even need my SVT, as he had this SVT pre-amp in box that sounded pretty damn good in playback. While tracking it helped my playing immensely, as thru headphones the bass sounded very clacky, forcing me to pay close attention to my attack. On playback was smooth as butter!

Very proud of my playing on this record, feels good to be creative and challenged musically, plus working against a deadline always makes me step up my game.

Was great working with guitarist Ulrich Ellison and drummer Derek Hensley. We all sounded and played very well together.

Chet and Ulrich listening to playbacks

Derek Hensley

While my SVT did not make an appearance on this album, my Marshall JCM800 did \m/, In trying out amps for Jason's guitar tracks I happened to have my guitar rig in the van anyway, so we wheeled it in. BAM. There was the tone right there. Loves letting people use my gear, I like hearing the way it sounds!

Will keep y'all posted on what happens with the album and post more pics as I get them.

In the meantime I have today and tomorrow to prep for being gone for all of July playing with Rick Hornyak. Trying to prioritize what needs to be done around the house, what I need to bring, and still spend as much quality time with Triniti as possible.

Even tho writing is important and I don't update this blog nearly as much as I'd like to, my Virgo brain is going back and forth on whether this is the best use of my time right now. Dammit. No rest for the weary.

Dammit I gotta go. But need to mention got in one last Ocean of Stars rehearsal last night before reconvening in August. It went very well, really digging the way this band is coming together \m/,

Friday, June 14, 2013

Learning Music. Rehearsals. Progress. Voice Lesson. The Dark Side.

Brain is feeling a little fried right now, but in a good way. Much going on.

The remaining 2 weeks of June before leaving for all of July with Rick Hornyak will be a whirlwind.

In addition to Deak Oak practices twice a week, I'm scrambling to learn 25 or so originals and about 30 covers. If we nail everything in Tuesday and Wednesday rehearsals next week, I'll have the last mid-week of June free to head to the coast and see my family for a few days. Ocean of Stars rehearsal is slated for Wednesday, and more on that in a minute.

But just picked up a recording session playing bass. A friend Jason Patten is doing an album at a new studio in Dripping Springs. Originally I was talking to him about playing guitar. But he got Ulrich Ellison on board, who then suggested me as a bassist \m/,

Only 9 songs, but with the startup disc in my brain nearly full I'm kinda seeing Mac warning screens in my psyche, heh. Jason, Ulrich and myself got together last night and worked on 7 songs, and it went very well. Ulrich is acting as musical director and doing a fine job of it, fun working with him. We'll have Monday day writing/rehearsal and Tuesday evening as well, with studio time around the 22nd-23rd.

So yeah busy as hell, but enjoying the challenge of it.

On Monday I had a voice lesson with the incomparable miss LZ Love. Amazing local soul singer who is unfortunately moving back to California soon.

Wow. Learned much I didn't know about the mechanics of singing (tongue placement, jaw position, and don't clear your throat so hard you could damage your vocal chords). And that was the first 5 minutes.

By the end she had me singing 'Amazing Grace' like a Gospel singer. Just wow. She helped give me a much-needed shot of self confidence with my voice and singing (5 years of instrumental music...) and I was already feeling and hearing improvement at Rick Hornyak rehearsals soon after. Just wow!

Thank you LZ!

Ocean of Stars got together this past Wednesday, bringing in Tom Coyne as an auditioning bassist. He has played with Ric Furley (drums) for years, so that is already a plus. Also, he has amazing ability and is a monster on stage. He did really well and it sounded really, really full with the addition of low end. We'll be getting together with him next week as well.

Also sax player Derek Rodriguez just got a mini-mixer to use as a pre-amp to bring up the level of his effects pedals. It did and it sounded awesome. Really digging the way this band is taking shape.

Also had a gear "yardwork day". Had a laundry list of things that needed fixing or modification. Got my 95 Les Paul Studio out of storage, it has been sitting in a case since the repair of the second head stock break... 2009 maybe? I had harvested it for parts at the time, gutting the pickups and anything useable.

So when it was repaired again, I haphazardly wired it back up. So that needed to be remedied. Currently has an old Super Distortion in the bridge, as I translplanted the Rio Grande BBQ into the Paul Stanley Iceman which resulted in the recording of RED RIVER DAY CARE. I thought the SD would sound awesome, but it sounded thin when I took it to Ocean of Stars rehearsal that night. Maybe I wired it wrong. Or maybe I should start looking for another Rio Grande.

That, and I set up the LP best I could. Did some intonation work on the Paul Stanley Iceman. Switched the speakers in my two Marshall cabs. Had Vintage 30's in the bottom cab but wanted to use my slant cab again, so swapped out the G-75's in it (which I have yet to re-install in the bottom cab, gotta get on that).

And somewhere in between, went to Strange Brew last Friday for Will Taylor & Strings Attached performing Pink Floyd, including 'Dark Side of the Moon' in its entirety.

Just, wow. Still collecting the fragments of my blown mind. Triniti, Jake and I were constantly picking up our jaws from the floor. Will is an amazing violin player, and had a top notch ensemble of guitar, upright bass, B3 player, cello and a soul singer. Definitely learned a lot watching him. He is running the show but he is not the star.

Kudos to Strange Brew for establishing themselves as a legit music venue. Great place and a great show!

So yeah. One more cigarette and time to start working on 15 covers.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Back to work.

Have enjoyed the much needed time off but now time to get back to work.

Have 5 rehearsals with 3 different bands each week for the next few weeks before heading out with Rock Hornyak for July. Deak Oak rehearses Monday and Friday evenings, Rick Hornyak on Tuesday and Wendesday afternoons, and Ocean of Stars on Wendesday evenings.

Today I finally got bass strings to replace the ones I ripped off Minnie Pearl at Saxon Pub on May 17 for my last ETB show. (Minnie Pearl is my 2000 USA P-Bass, in case you are just joining this blog...). About to start learning Rick Hornyak's music.

Also scheduling Ocean of Stars rehearsals, making a note to pick up my replacement HAAM earplugs on Friday (I think), and confirmed a voice lesson with the one and only LZ Love. Saw her briefly at the Deann Rene CD release party at One-2-One few weeks back. Was good to see her and she had some very good and encouraging things to say: "Your voice needs to be heard!"

She offered a voice lesson and I accepted! Nevermind that my own music is instrumental, heh, but I do sing backup and harmonies in most other bands I play in, so why not hone that. And should I decide to add vocals to my music, I'll be better equipped to do so.


Gotta go, have music to learn and not much time today to work on it. #busy