Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Tuesday, February 28. Day two. My fingers hurt.

This was a lot of playing today. My calluses must have become thin or something. Or I must not be playing enough. Or maybe it was just a lot of playing today.

First Rob came in and drummed. We did several takes of each of the six songs we had ready. By the way, here is a list of the probable songs, in their probable CD order. You may not know them, but from now on, I can refer to them by title:
  1. Metaphor
  2. Fire
  3. Let It Burn
  4. Blessing
  5. Haruach
  6. Edge of the Ocean
  7. Reason to Believe
  8. The Silent Son
  9. Take Me Back
  10. Light
  11. Every Step a Prayer
  12. She Knows God
OK. So Rob came in and we put down drums for six of the songs: Metaphor, Let it Burn, Haruach, Reason to Believe, Take Me Back and Light. We worked from about 10:00 to 2:30 and then broke for lunch. Rob left for the day and will be back Thursday and Friday. He really wanted to work with the bass player, Derek Poindexter, in the studio to establish a tighter groove. The only chance they'll have to do that is on Friday. We got him to put down tracks anyway so we could listen to them and make decisions later. We'll have time to get something new if we need it. Rob will probably end up doing some kind of percussion on every song.

BTW, Rob and Derek have worked extensively together. In fact, I met them while doing "Tony n Tina's Wedding" at the Hanna Theater (see Noah's Attic). They, along with keyboard player Ed Ridley, were the band. Even though they were playing "wedding music" anyone could recognize their tremendous talents. After some 400 shows, I never got tired of watching Derek fingers, or listening to the subtle jazz riffs or musical references Ed would slip into the familiar tunes. And sometimes they would jam between shows, which was like a show in and of itself. But I digress.

After lunch we went back in with my guitar. I did OK on most of the tracks. I'll have to add the phrase "punch in" to the glossary soon because we did a lot of that. The hardest song for me to get down was Edge of the Ocean. It has a fairly intricate (for me) little guitar riff which I could NOT play to the beat. It's a fairly delicate riff and quiet, gentle song, but in my headphones…that was a different story. Imagine listening to "Daniel" by Elton John with the percussion part to Queen's "We will Rock You." That's what it was like. You, of course will never hear that percussion, but that was about the only way to get me to (almost) stay on the beat.

We recorded primary guitar tracks for all but two of the songs. After three or four takes of "Fire" my hand was beginning to cramp up. It has to do with the shapes of the chords. Chew on that.

At the end of the session we put down reference vocals (also referred to as scratch vocals) for all of the songs. Again, these are the vocals we will not keep…just so the musicians know where they are in the song.

Accordion player has not called back yet.

Monday, February 27, 2006


In the past week there has been a flurry of emails. It was actually a textbook definition of the word "flurry." Look up "flurry" in the dictionary and…well, you get it. Me, David, the studio, musicians…confirming everybody's schedules, etc.

Monday, February 27. We're rolling. Day one in the studio was tedious as expected. Recording is not a "fun" process for me. At least not this stage. But we're right on, or maybe even a little ahead of, schedule. Here's what we did on day one:
  • Set the tempos for each song and established the click tracks (see glossary).

  • Set up the drum kit and (and microphones) and got levels. That took about an hour. We'll reset the levels when Rob Ticherich, the actual drummer, comes in on Tuesday.

  • During the Drum setup, I booked two more musicians for sessions. The incomparable Norm Tischler will be playing Sax of two of the songs, and my old friend and band mate Mark Freiman will be playing trumpet on one number. He's a fabulous keyboard player too, but he, like me, has the proverbial day job and really does not have the schedule to do much more with us. Still waiting for my accordion player to call back.

  • Recorded some drum loops for a few songs to help me stay in tempo when putting down the guitar tracks. These loops will not end up in the final recording. In fact, we're pretty much done with them now. They were just in my headphones. This is an exacting science which is why, for me, it's tedious.

  • Recorded about half of the primary guitar tracks. We put down the six songs on which we're using a full drum kit so that when Rob comes in, we'll have something for him to record.

This was an eight hour work day.

Tuesday we'll try to get the rest of the guitar parts after Rob leaves. He'll be back on Thursday and Friday to finish up any of his parts. Maybe we can even get some of David's bass parts down depending on how accurate I am on my guitar parts. Lemme tell ya, I do not have a terrific natural sense of rhythm.

Michael Seifert, studio owner and our main engineer, will be out on Tuesday. He's having his wisdom teeth pulled. He thinks he's coming back in on Wednesday. We told him we'd see him next week. His right hand man, Jimmy, will be at the controls. Jimmy handled much of the session today and is a fine engineer with great ears. (Not the appearance or size of them - the way he hears stuff.)

I'll let you know how it goes.