Sunday, April 15, 2012

I Would Drive 500 Miles...

Since Wednesday I've set a mileage-per-day record in my Delightful Dodge Dakota.
Up to Austin for set-up, further north to a certain Marriot, back to the studio, around town for stuff, repeat, home, Beautiful Mess show in Adkins, Austin, home again...506.1 miles in five amazing days.

I will get to the specifics soon, but just wanted to start the Televator's recording sessions posts with a quick mention of my extreme fatigue.

Some of our songs are long, and others are fast. ALL are pretty heavy.
Extreme concentration while the dollars are flowing like water on a GPM scale messes with your mind.
Can't begin to imagine how tired our drummer Jaime got, but he's younger than me and recovered well.

Recording studios are an amazingly complicated place.
Ours was chock full of vintage equipment with jaw-dropping stats.
I'll spare you the details of which legendary hit songs had the vocals or drums or bass etc recorded using this item or that, but for a music junkie like me it was a trip through history that made all the biographies and oral reports I've read come alive. It's easy to think they are BS-ing until confirmation comes from 2nd and 3rd sources.
But with the good comes the bad.
We lost a lot of time right before the very first instance of hitting the record button when a fuse blew in our guitarist's Mesa Boogie tube power amp. The speaker cabinet was isolated in a closet with a single ribbon microphone, and it was screaming loud!!!
Probably louder than it had ever been pushed since built, and the amp's fuse quit like a big fricken wuss. For a change, I didn't have a spare and neither did the guys at Wire Recording, so an assistant engineer got sent to Radio Shack and we were back in business a hundred wasted bucks later...

Me: "It's a tube guitar amp--of course it's a slo-blo fuse!" and naturally I was right--the replacements looked exactly the same and worked perfectly.

On the second day we also lost an hour at the start when *again* the guitar wasn't working right.
After the entire signal chain got de-constructed and many cables were strewn about and many tiny screws were left rolling around on a dimly-lit end table, I overheard a conversation that mentioned that this particular guitar is equipped with EMG pickups.
Me: " has a battery?"

When I hooked-up my multi-meter that piece of shit 9-volt was reading a mere 3.11v!!!
I replaced it with an already used 9v from A Beautiful Mess's wireless in-ear monitors that had enough juice to get the session cooking again, and cook it did.
The guitar was screaming, and sounded amazing!!!

Minor details like fuses and batteries can bite you in the ass.

The third item in the picture above is THE pick.
Call me weird, but I made it a point to practice and play with any one of several nearly identical picks in my pocket but when it was time to actually record Televators music this was the exact piece of plastic clenched tightly in my right hand.
Most bassists pluck the strings with their fingers at about a 75/25% ratio or some such.
As a guy who's played mostly lead and rhythm electric guitar since the Ford administration I'm most comfortable hitting strings with plastic instead of dirty calloused fingertips. And when you hear the results from this week's work I hope you agree that there's no better way to play tight and fast basslines than with a 0.88mm Dunlop Ultex triangle.

Kinda wish they made a 0.75 version to tame my aggression a bit, but what are you gonna do?

All kinds of photos from Wire Recording Studio are coming soon.
The last few days have been the most important and educational of my entire life.
Music has always been the key to happiness for me, and all of a sudden it's working much better than ever.

Famous By Fifty!!! is my new motto, but that's pushing things a bit.
51 is more realistic but doesn't flow as well when you say it out loud.

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