Many years ago, I promised myself that I would make a solo record as soon as they developed digital recording for the home - thus offering a relatively inexpensive way to do a large project. So when this became available, and armed with an incredible 'day job' and a bank loan, I purchased the equipment needed to embark on this idea. This was about 3 years ago. I was also extremely lucky to hook up with Weld [Ed V] who became the engineer of the studio and facilitated an environment where I could concentrate on the producing aspect without being slowed down by the learning curve of the equipment.
I had most of the songs already in demo form. These were songs written or co-written by me that I really loved and had collected over the years. Because the songs were written at different times and with different people, I was faced with the problem of making a cohesive sounding record of 'individual' songs. I felt that rather than make them all sound the same, I should tailor them according to their individual styles and that my drumming and producing would unify them as one cohesive work at the end of the day.
I tried to find the right singers and musicians for each song to create a unified group for those few minutes. Very often the right musician for the music also connected to the other musicians on the song in more ways than just being stylistically right for that moment.
The recording process was the same in all cases. I would go into a recording studio and play drums to the song already in midi form. The midi version would contain the chords, drumloop and general arrangement of the song, sometimes also with a rough vocal take. [Often these midi keyboard and loop parts made it into the final mix]. I would put the drum takes into the computer at home and re-work them until I had a cohesive drum track. I would then start building the tracks, doing each instrument individually and editing them into the take. Each overdub would be edited and completed befAbore the next overdub was put on. In other words the next musician had to interact with what was already given. In my mind this created the spontaneity needed for the record to feel interactive even though the musicians did not play at the same time.
Sometimes the editing was extensive and sometimes the takes were hardly touched, but it was important to leave space for parts that I knew would be coming up later. Sometimes the musicians had very little time to learn the parts, so I had them play many takes and would sit later and make one cohesive part out of them which sounded true to the song and to the musician's style. In all cases I was very happy with the contributions so generously given by all.
I think of the record as an old style one - in the days when we used to put on headphones and listen to the details in the music. I like the sound of the intros to the songs - and some of the twist and turns that happen within the instruments while the big picture is going along.
Most of the songs were mixed at home as we finished them and even though Weld, who was responsible for much of the mixing, and I tried to remix every song, I often felt that the original mix, done sometimes years earlier, had a better vibe for the song. Case in point: Home, Hand on my Shoulder, 3:4:Folk. More than Friends was also an earlier mix done by Josh Abbey, which I liked and kept. The other songs were remixed and improved. My friend Kevin Shirley [producer/mixer Aerosmith, Black Crows et al] took 'Anyway that you want me' and 'Know Where You Go' into the Hit Factory and mixed them with his trademark explosive sound. Leon Zervos, a mastering engineer whom I met through Kevin, mastered all the different mixes and sounds of the songs into one cohesive concept.
With the exception of the drumtracks, a few select overdubs and Kevin's 2 mixes, the entire project was recorded and mixed on protools in a tiny room at home.
The cover has also been part of the creative experience. Thanks to Marlon Richards and Kenn Richards - no relation - for their artwork and design.
A special thanks goes to Weld, who was with me every step of the way. His engineering, mixing and suggestions helped shape the work. It would not have been the same record without him.
This album has been a long journey for me. My life has gone through many twists and turns throughout the writing of the songs and recording of the project. I have been extremely lucky that everyone involved in this record, music and beyond have been friends - I am most grateful for their participation. This has been a very fullfilling project for me and I hope that you will enjoy listening to the music.
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track listing iTunes
01. Home (feat. Blondie Chaplin) 04:48
02. Hand on My Shoulder (feat. Brian Wilson & Blondie Chaplin) 04:31
03. Inside Out (feat. Ivan Neville) 04:29
04. More Than Friends (feat. Richie Havens) 04:27
05. Know Where You Go (feat. Ace Frehley & Sebastian Bach) 05:49
06. Utopia (feat. Blondie Chaplin) 04:21
07. 3: 4 Folk 05:24
08. Jan/Feb/March 03:1
09. Tears 05:24
10. When the Good Die Young (feat. Chip Taylor) 05:56