Thursday, May 10, 2007

I am so full of it

It looks like I'm a big fat liar. Not only did I not post every week like I said I would in the last post, I haven't posted here since December 9th, 2006. I have, however, posted on another blog I intend to continue to post there so if you're subscribed to this one, hop on over to the other one.

"Thanks for the memories"


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holiday Shopping Guide

I just posted the Holiday Shopping Guide to the website. It took me quite some time to put it together and I think I will start doing in earlier in November next year so I'm not quite so rushed. I haven't done much in the studio over the last month and a half because of work and not actually being here but this weekend I plan to get in there and get things re-organized so I can get some things done. Plus Joel's going to be back in town for a couple of weeks and I'm sure he's going to work on some things. I promise I will try to post at least every week from now on so check back.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Joel's Mad at Me, I think

Joel left on the 25th of August to pursue his dream of being a doctor and by all accounts, he seems to be having a great time. I decided that I would take the 12 or so songs that we had recorded and produce them myself. The idea is that I would have a CD finished by the time he came back in December for the Holidays. I choose "Anna" as the first song and I intend to go alphabetically through the list. Some of the songs like "Smells Like" and "Caroline" are done and I won't have to mess with them.
Anyway, I recorded a guitar part that I liked pretty well and my first ever keyboard part (a B-3 organ played through an overdriven Marshall). You can check them out here. The organ probably won't come in until the first chorus and I think the guitar part is ok where it is. I also intend to add some sort of percussion (either shaker or cabasa) to the choruses and outro. Whether or not to do anything vocally is questionable.
Here's why I think Joel's mad at me. He tryed to call us using Skype last week and we were gone to dinner so we missed his call. I called him back at his hotel room in St. Martin. I told him what I had done and that I would send him the file. I've been very busy at work and he sent me an email a couple of days ago wanting to know why I hadn't sent the file. Well, for some reason, I woke up at 1:30 or so Wednesday morning and I mixed down the file and put it on the website and sent him an email with the link. I haven't heard from him since. It may just be that he's been busy too and hasn't had time to check it out. We'll see. Let me know what you think of it.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Joel's Leaving

I've been terrible about keeping up with the blog but I had a sales person quit around the 1rst of May and I've been focusing on work for the last couple of months. Now I've got something else to worry about. Joel has been on vacation since the beginning of the month and before he left, he dropped a bit a bomb on me. He's been applying to medical schools and though his first choice was to attend LSU Medical School here in Shreveport, he got accepted to a medical school in the Caribbean on the island of St. Martin (tough gig - HA). He leaves on August 28th for 2 years but he'll be back for the holidays. Brandon and I are working on our parts although last night, Brandon told me he got invited to go with a friend of his to Hilton Head for a week and that he can't really do anything until after he gets back so I've got my work cut out for me. Last night, Brandon finished re-recording the drums to "Anna". He thought his original track was a bit tame and I have to agree with him. We recorded that song almost immediately after Joel wrote it and the drums were a bit too straight forward. So for the next week and half, I've got to go it alone. Lorraine(my wife) recorded some background vocals for a song called "Saved" that I'm sure is going to polarize people. It's about how some people let religion get in the way of spirituality. It's funny and poignant at the same time and I just love it. I'm absolutely committed to finishing the CD because we've been working so long on it that I can't just walk away from it. Besides, there's some really good material here and it needs to get out there. I intend to take a different tack as far as promoting this record especially seeing that we won't be able to perform. Playing gigs around here isn't going to really help us anyway. I'll start posting the progress on the production at least once a week so check back.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ben Rocks (Come On, Come On)

We(Me, my wife, my daugher, her friend Alex, Joel and Brandon) went to the Ben Folds show in Ruston, LA last night. Chris Mills opened for Ben and he was ok. It was just him on guitar and a drummer. Suprisingly enough, his material was almost enough to hold the crowd's attention. The drummer was more than proficient to say the least. Before Ben came on, he had this song about how you should walk the straight and narrow or else God would f..k you up. It was hilarious. I've always been a fan of his since I bought "Forever and Ever, Amen" for my daughter when she was in junior high but I hadn't really heard a lot of his new stuff. All I can say is that he is the most entertainment I've had for $20 in forever. At one point in the show, he started talking about all ringtones he had bought for his phone that day. Then he asked a stagehand to get his phone so he could play them for us. It was like being at a party where a guy is playing piano and telling jokes. After he played a few ringtones, he said we should wish William Shatner Happy Birthday because it was a few days ago. He dialed the number and the voicemail came on an said "You've reached the Sprint voicemail of ....." and we're all waiting for it to say "William Shatner" but instead it says "85..." and then Ben pulled the phone away from the mike until the number was finished and then we all sang "Happy Birthday to Bill". It seemed like there wasn't anyone he didn't want to piss off. He played a rap song by Dr. Dre that was all about ho's and biatches, etc, etc, etc and I thought it was the funniest thing I had ever heard. Then, of course, he played "Rockin' the Suburbs" and went into this kind of bash against the current state of rock(?) music. The set was awesome but he hadn't played "200 Solemn Faces" before the encore so I was a little concerned that he wasn't going to play it. Then for the last song, he started it off and I jumped around like a little kid who was told he was about to get a piece of candy. The Radiohead show in New Orleans about 2 years ago was the best show musically I'd ever been to but this was definately the most intimate and fun.
We got in about 1:00AM and I woke up about 8:00 and made coffee. The house was quiet so I went into the studio to work on something I am pretty excited about. I lurk a bit in few recording and guitar user groups on Yahoo and Google and about a month and half ago, someone posted something relating to whether they should take their songs to a pro studio to mix. My response was that for the amount of money a pro studio would charge to mix a CD's worth of material, you could buy a ton of plugin's and gear and just do it yourself. Then someone else suggested that one of the group members might be interested in mixing. I offered and FC got the tracks together for me to mix. It's a cover of The Beatles "Me and My Monkey" from the White Album which I think is really their most artist endeavor (Click Here for the unmixed version). The are a total of 17 tracks but you have 2 tracks for each guitar, a direct track and a amped track for the bass, two tracks for the snare and the lead vocal, a stereo track for a crash cymbal, two tracks for the toms, cymbals and other percussion and single tracks for the kick drum and background vocals. A Yamaba AW16G was used to record the guitars, bass, drum sequencer and background vocals. Guitars and basses were recorded using the Line 6 Pod and the drums are from a Boss Dr-770. The vocals were recorded remotely but I don't have details on what or how they were recorded. I started off by mixing down the lead vocal and snare to mono tracks. Then I went through each of the tracks and eq'ed them. There was really no need to compress them since FC had already done that. Note: It's cool to edit tracks to get rid of extraneous noise, etc. but try not to do to much in the way of effects that can't be reversed unless they are absolutely crucial to the feel of the song. In this case, it worked out well because there wasn't any reverb on anything but the guitars and the compression was done well. I added a delay to the vocal in order to double it (A Lennon fave) and then soloed it against the kick and bass. I brought the kick and bass up to about - 3db and then brought the vocal up to point where I could hear it clearly but it didn't overpower the other two. Click here for a sample. I put a little delay on the snare to give it some space and brought it in. Click here for the snare sample and then here to listen to it in the mix.
After I was satisfied with that I brought the rest of the kit in. I treated the cymbal and tom tracks as though they were right and left channels of a stereo mix. They were very hot so I had to pull them back quite a bit. Here they are with the rest of the mix. I fed them to an aux send with the Lexicon Pantheon reverb. The guitars were next and even though they were recorded with reverb I sent them to a another aux send with a different reverb. (click here). FC did a good job of recording them so I didn't have to do much other than pan them a bit to seperate them and then set the volumes so that they didn't get in the way of anything. There was one section that required me to step up the volume on one of the guitars so that a particular fill would cut through. Then I put a rhythmic delay on the background vocals to give them some space. I listened to a few times, made a few adjustments to the eq on the snare and the kick and exported a tk to burn to a CD to listen to in my car which is dead on. The kick was a bit hot(just a teeny bit) and the bass lacked some definition so I plan on playing around with that tonight and I think I'll be able to put that to bed.
I finally got Anna really close and I also need to put the finishing touches on that tonight. We talked Thursday about having a demo with Caroline, Anna, Back to You, and Where Ya Goin' on it along with a couple of snippets from the "No Cover" radio show we did a while back. Thinking back, that was a pretty stressful gig. I assumed that a radio station would have a room where we would be mic'd up and mixed by an engineer. It was a good thing I decided to get there early. We had to provide our own mix and feed it to the engineer. I called my wife and had her bring my Mackie 1604 VLZ along with some extra headphones so we could hear each other. On top of that, my daughter forgot to bring her keyboard so we had to rent one for $100. It was a Korg Triton so it sounded awesome and it was well worth it. The show went really well. It's one of the shows they replay every year on their "Best Of" shows. Now they do a taped show so I don't know if it would be as spontaneous as our show was.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

So Sorry

Hey, I know it's been a while but we've mostly been rehearsing and not doing a lot of recording. We're trying to put together a demo that will consist of 4 songs - the 3 new ones that are on the old CATCH website and "Anna". I've been working on mixing the basic tracks for "Anna". The kick drum gave me fits and once I got that fixed, the bass is just too hot. I do think that I need to bring the kick back up a bit and the snare as well and back off the bass a bit. We also recorded a new song - "Saved" - that is a bit irreverent and pretty sarcastic. It's got a kind of country feel - surprise, surprise - but Brandon's drums take it into another place altogether. I hope to have "Anna" mixed by Thursday so we can put that to bed and start playing some gigs.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Too Late 2

TD Electronics
I've been sick for the past couple of weeks but that's no excuse. We've been recording some vocal parts for a couple of songs and it's taking more work than I thought. I tried recording mine while sitting at the computer but the noise level is unbearable. I'm going to have to set the track to loop and then go into the vocal booth to do mine. We rerecorded "Too Late" last night and I am a lot happier with it. The first one had some tempo changes that I wasn't too thrilled about. The tempo is much smoother and Joel moved the key up a whole step. It gives it a bit more of an edge. I'm considering having Brandon redo his drum part on "Smells Like" because the process of replacing the drum parts is tedious at best and I'm not entirely satisfied with the results. I should follow my own advice and "Do it right the first time".
On a side note, I am so pissed off about my loss in Madden 2006 last night. I had the game right in my hands and screwed it up because of poor time management. The score was tied at 17 all and I had gotten the ball down to the 2 and it was 3rd down with about 25 seconds left. I instinctively hit the time out button instead of letting some more time run off. I kicked the field goal to go ahead. By the time Joel got the ball, he had 18 seconds left. He ran 2 plays for almost no yards and had 2 seconds left. I set up in a cover 4 safe defense and he threw a Hail Mary. His reciever got behind my defenders and ran it in for a touch down with no time left on the clock.
I'll be putting together the newsletter for the website this weekend. I hate the end of the month because in my day job, I have to fill out 4 monthly bids for the local casinos and it wears me out