Thursday, May 28, 2009

Last Tribe Wetlands Tapes

Back in the day, my old band Last Tribe used to do pretty well at a noteworthy club in NYC called Wetlands. During Last Tribe's run at Wetlands, a typical weekend headlining schedule would be something like this: the band 311 on Thursday, a band like Dave Matthews on a Friday and Last Tribe on Sat. There were so many good groups going through that place and many went on to huge success. We decided to record one of those hot, steamy nights and release a live record. We ended up putting out an EP of 4 songs through our record label Energy Records and discarded the rest of the set. The night was captured on a couple of ADAT machines by our friend Dave Schwartz who was stationed in our ratty band van outside the backstage area in the sweltering heat! I can still picture him sweating, with the dimmest of lights and a little fan in the cramped, dirty van trying desperately to get a good sound out of the minimal recording set up we had. Despite the circumstances, Dave did a great job and really managed to capture the evening's raw energy. Here is a vid from that night:

Recently when talking to a musician friend of mine he mentioned that Wetland's owner Larry Bloch had invited him up to Vermont to see the premiere of "Wetlands Preserved." I hadn't heard of this but apparently it is a great documentary of the club and the new era of improvisation that was born there in the early 90's. A clip of the movie can be seen here.

A few years after Last Tribe broke up I went over to SUNY Purchase to visit my friend and SUNY professor Eric Helmuth to "borrow" one of their recording studios so I could dump all of the tracks from ADAT to my computer for further investigation. The tracks sat idle until this past winter when I opened up the session and started messing about with the tunes. After a while I started to get a decent sound and thought "Hey, these aren't too bad." So, I'm about half way through the set and have about 6 tunes roughed out. The performance from that night was pretty on from a music stand point but vocally it was all over the map, especially when examined under a microscope. The energy was really what mattered at those shows and as I stated before there was plenty of that!! I'm not sure what I'm gonna do with these mixes, probably just give them away to a few LT diehards or maybe I'll get the whole thing done up and put it out on

Here is a rough mix of one of the unreleased tunes Final Offering:

On the recording an album front, things have been a little slow because of time issues as of late but I hope to finish up bass tracks some time next week. My friend Pete wants his Fodera back!! RD

Monday, May 11, 2009

The Carl Brooks Show!

Well, my old friend Carl Brooks came and did some stellar vocals on Beautiful. I was lucky enough to become part of the choir for the bridge section but other than that it's all Carl. He's supposed to come in for a few more sessions in the upcoming weeks. Carl brings a lot of natural musicality and is filled with great ideas. I told him I want to produce his record!! Here is a rough of the backing vox on Beautiful:

Also, I'm meeting with Erik Lawrence this week to go over some horn arrangements and sax solos for some of the tunes. Erik is a killer sax player and is currently playing with Levon Helm's band (yes, The Band's own) and his own band Hipmotism. I'm very lucky to have him on my record and I'm excited to take my music into totally uncharted waters. Erik's a super nice guy and I'm sure he will have a positive influence on this project in many ways. 

I've also revisited my song " I Got Myself in trouble"  which is an old one from the Last Tribe days. Dave and I had recorded it a few years back and I had a listen the other day and started working on it. I did a new mix and added some bass and now it's in the running for being on the record. So much more to do but at the moment I'm satisfied with the way the songs are lining up.