Subscribe Now!
GannettUSA Today

Monday, October 29, 2007


For the first time in my 49 years, I cut a real track in a real studio.

Call it an opportunity or an impossible dream, but due to circumstances I won't bore you with, me 'n' the guys accepted a challenge: to record a track during two Saturday sessions one week apart -- one long, one short -- with precious little time for preparation.

The song was a cover. I cooked up the arrangement over a two-week period. But the window of time between when I could show it to the guys and when we would record it was a matter of HOURS. It was a take-it-or-leave-it situation. We took it. (Mind you, this was in the midst of rehearsals for our Nov. 2 Mad Jack/Scream double-bill.)

The lineup to play on the track was me (vocals, guitars); brother Brinie (bass, backing vocals); The Kid (guitar solo); Jazzy (drums); plus, the producer (I'll call him "Shades") offered to add Hammond organ and piano.

The big weekend finally came. The schedule was brutal.

On Friday night, we had a Mad Jack practice (three and a half hours); then me 'n' Brinie cut a demo of my arrangement in his basement studio; then he and I worked on his bassline until 3 a.m. (I fell asleep while playing guitar ... I actually kept playing in my sleep); then at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning, we had a Scream practice (two hours); then me, Brinie, Jazzy and The Kid learned the arrangement.

Jazzy was the key. This guy has played hundreds of shows over the past 30 years, so he's quick on the uptake. He's very innovative. He will matter-of-factly insert a snare roll that purrs like a cat. Jazzy and I first played together when we were sophomores in high school, but only in the past couple of years have we been reunited musically. When I ask Jazzy for something, he knows what I want.

For the sake of expediency, we actually named the parts of the arrangement. There was the "Van Morrison," the "James Brown," the "Mott riffs," the climb, the accelerated climb, the descend, the "Redbone riff," the "Roxy riff," the acoustic verse, the "Come Together" verse, the "Dobie Gray."

Once we felt the slightest bit confident, we jumped into our vehicles and high-tailed it to the studio in South Jersey. But our collective grasp on the arrangement was tenuous. Our hope was to get to the studio before the arrangement leaked out of our ears and into the wind.



Post a Comment

<< Home