Monday, November 3, 2014

Something Old, Something New

I've been able to spend a little time in front of the speakers lately and I have been trying to tune up my head for some future recordings. "All About You" has been lurking around my hard drive for a while but I never had the time to mix it. It's back to guitars on this one with some nice raunch and a cool whammy solo. The lead vocal was a single performance with no overdubs. It's not perfect but it had decent energy to it, so I kept it. We all know a person like the one I'm singing about in this one.... a star-fucking, arrogant asshole who tries their best to out-talk and out-cool everyone they know.

Monday, September 1, 2014

'We Hope You like Our New Direction"

I've been snail-like on the music front lately. I've had a few scheduled rehearsals fall through and haven't really been able to conjure up any real musical MOJO. I have a core group of songs ready for further production and I hope to start working on these this fall with my friend and Unspun drummer, John Joyce. I noodle a little here and there (when I'm able to stay awake) and sometimes come up with something interesting. This one is in it's infancy and totally digital except for a few guitar parts. I hear a lot of possible melody lines and ideas but nothing is sticking at the moment. The big chords/hits on the chorus section are actually done in real time on my iPad using an app called "Addictive Synth". There are so many great music making apps for iPad that present a totally new (and odd, to me) way of making music. Some apps that I have are "Animoog", "Vogel CMI", which emulates the Fairlight CMI,"Voice Synth", which is a sick vocoder/sampler and "IMPC", which emulates the MPC Samplers used on a lot of hip hop stuff. We'll see how this track goes from here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Til the Break of Day" by Last Tribe

From Last Tribe's "Substance and Soul" record... One of my favorite songs on that record. It was the band's first time in a real recording studio and we fought hard to record just about every song we had. We ended up releasing the record with 15 tunes on it although we probably should have trimmed it down to 11 or 12. This song was a bit self indulgent, especially for me, and I don't think we ever played this track live. We certainly didn't after the record was released as there were probably about 10 guitar tracks on it. At the time I was listening to a lot of David Gilmour and Allan Holdsworth and it reflects a little in the solo.
It was recorded at Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca, NY by Alex Perialas and Rob Hunter. Alex was a Metal/Hardcore/Screamo producer and didn't really understand where Last Tribe was coming from. Regardless, he looked at our band as a pop/rock hopeful for metal label Energy Records and signed us to a deal. He introduced us to larger, louder amps and he also had some beautiful guitars to record with, as well as a beautiful recording studio with a 48 track Neve console. I remember playing the solo on a white Charvel that had a sweet, rich tone through a Marshall head and a four twelve cabinet. Although I always tried to steer clear of guitars of that ilk (Charvel, Kramer etc.) that guitar was a screamer and played so nicely. The rhythm stuff was done with a Strat through my JC-120 and is super clean. I always enjoyed Pete Jameson's excellent fretless bass playing on this track.

Despite being in a recording studio with fantastic gear, the original mix of "Substance and Soul" came out like poops. It was a classic case of "it ain't the gear, it's the ear" and unfortunately Mr. Perialas' ears were fried. I ended up re-mixing/salvaging the entire album down at The Hit Factory NYC and BearTracks with engineer Doug Oberkircher. Because of the poor quality of the recorded drum tracks, most of what you hear are triggered samples on kick and snare. The snare sample came right from The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" record, hence the gated reverb sound on it.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Wetlands Preserve Book

On Facebook I follow the band The Authority, who were our (Last Tribe's) contemporaries back in the 90's. Our two band's were the prominent bands out of Rockland County, NY that were packing Wetland's Preserve down in NYC on a regular basis. The new hippie scene started there by Phish, Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors was just taking off and those bands were starting to play bigger venues while we were coming up and filling their shoes. Admittedly, the Authority was more tapped into that scene than we were as they were a funk band and we were more of a rock band. Some relatively unknown bands playing the venue at the same time as us were Dave Matthews, 311, The Wallflowers and Warren Haynes to name a few.

So I got the post mentioning a new book about Wetlands being done by deceased owner Larry Bloch's wife, Laura, on Kickstarter. I went to the site here and there was my band's name being featured on an old Wetland's Calendar front and center. It looks like Laura has met her goal of $17500 and the book will be published in June of this year. Great stuff, I look forward to the book and the many memories it will stir up for so many people. Over 2500 bands played that venue during it's 13 year run in lower Manhattan.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Unspun's "One" record

At the request of our old friend Allison Hagendorf (who is now a host on VH1) and many other friends, I finally put Unspun's first record "One" up for sale on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify. I am quite proud of this bunch of songs as it opened a lot of doors in the NYC music world and garnered us many new fans. We met a lot of industry kingpins and ended up being wooed by and signing a deal with Avery Lipman at Universal Republic records. Great days! You can access the record here.