Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Visitors

On Friday we needed to get most of the meat and potatoes recorded (because I had to come home for a Beautiful Mess show on Saturday) and our singer's friend Erin Wyatt-Fernandez came by to take pictures.
I was very glad she did as it took a ton of extra pressure off me.
I had a job to do on bass and any photos I was able to get were bonus with a lower priority. Erin had fun getting shots of everyone with her freedom of movement between the various rooms in the studio while I was often tethered to one spot by multiple cables.

Despite our amps being isolated in other rooms with their respective microphones, David and I did most of the basic tracks standing in the same room with Jaime. You can fix minor mistakes later, but getting the overall feel of a song just right requires human contact, from a subtle nod meaning "we go to the next part here" to just locking-in with the kick drum.
Some bands live and record on opposite coasts or even separate continents from each other and try to get around this basic principal, with varying levels of success.

At the end of one song we needed to sshhhhh... but I swear to this day that when she took this picture I could hear her flash pop and even the high-pitched whine of it re-charging through my headphones. Only a forensic analysis of the original tracks will settle the case, but that explains why I was shhh-ing in the first place.

I don't like playing bass solos.
I used to watch Billy Sheehan work his magic in upstate NY clubs with TALAS when I first got into this business, and he set the bar impossibly high.
And the general public isn't much interested, anyway.
My deal is all about being subtle, like a grindy tone and letting certain notes ring just barely long enough or almost too long.
All I care about is anchoring the music in the low register so the other Televators can shine.

But one song has a bass solo (more of a short interlude?) as an integral part and I decided to try my 8-string to spice-up the sound.
It took me a few takes to get the playback mix right, and a fast re-write of the part to manage it on this beast of an instrument. At this point I have no idea whether or not it'll make the final cut, but I had fun and learned something new.
The towel seen between my legs was looped over the neck and had one corner tucked under 4 of the strings so they wouldn't ring on their own, so I could concentrate on playing the rest of them.

My favorite photo. Relief.
Bassists don't get to do many overdubs, so I kinda felt like the guitarist I used to be 25-30 years ago.
It was great to have a pro photographer there to document a new high-point in my long career.
Thanks, Erin!

Other visitors included Paul Leary of The Butthole Surfers, Paul Barker (bassist during the best years of Ministry), and Jesse James. Mr. Leary produced the gold and platinum selling albums by Sublime and was very nice. Paul Barker is supposed to do an extended re-mix on one of our songs. I don't know WTF Jesse James was there for.


Bruce said...

I think it's great that you have so many varied interests, do them all well, AND have a blast while at them.

Keith Alan K said...

Thanks, Bruce. You should taste my cooking! I was lucky to have learned at a young age that besides family and friends, hobbies and interests are the whole point of life because very few of us are lucky enough to love our jobs. I enjoy TV and the internet and playing games on my phone as much as anyone, but actually creating something is where it's at. A photo, a song, a meal, crops, ideas...the possibilities are endless and the joy can be shared. I fully intend to write a book someday, if only to give back after reading so many of them. I just wish there were more hours in the day to do all the things that make living such an adventure.