Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Demos/Unused Tracks #2

Reveille - Written for my first born, who did all the things mentioned in the lyrics. She was my 'reason' during a difficult time in my life. I created an electronic rhythm track and proceeded to write a nice waltz. This was never on any release but it is one of my favorites. Is my voice really that high?

Stride - An early 4 track cassette demo of a Last Tribe song that never saw the light of day. I was convinced this one would be great live, especially with our rhythm section digging into it, but it was not to be. I put the whole track together with a drum machine and gave it to Smith who came up with these lyrics and phrases quickly.. we recorded the vocals in my bedroom and I think he was still writing as we were laying them down! The sound isn't great but you get the picture... I remember straining my voice doing the BG vocals on the left side during the chorus. I miss 4 track machines.

Another Quiet Moment - A "where am I and where am I going song".... A reference mix and a late night guide vocal on this.... I never got around to laying a better one down. Dave Ramie played a nice, groovy drum track in my garage and I spent a few days EQ-ing the shitty sound of the room out of it! It could use a solo (any takers??) but there are some nice guitar parts that keep it interesting during the chorus. Maybe I'll finish it one day...

Cry For Pity - One of my favorites from the early Last Tribe days. This was written around 1989 when LT was in honeymoon phase. The Central Park Jogger/rape case was in the news and NYC was still stuck in the muck. "Gutter rats the size of dogs" was inspired by a giant rat I saw outside of Tavern On The Green, one of the city's swankiest restaurants at the time. Young and impressionable, this was my naive take on NYC. Musically, the guitar parts and everything my bandmates added to this just seemed to work and it was always a crowd favorite. This recording suffers from midi drum disease but everything else sounds great thanks to producer Dave Schwartz. We did this in a fucking condo!!! Midi drums and half inch 16 track tape.... ahhh, the good ol' days,

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Demos/Unused Tracks #1

Over the years I've recorded a lot of music in my studio and others. I have a bunch of tracks that were demos, half finished songs, music only tracks, electronic stuff and some experimental tunes. Sometimes you do a demo and it never translates when you try to "properly" record it and you end up loving the demo.. A few of them are (to my ears anyway) pretty musical and worthy of a listen.... but they never found a home on one of my releases. Here are a few:

Long Way Down - A good one that got away. This one was done in-between "Interim" and "Tape and Glue"and features Dave Ramie playing a weird mix of electro/acoustic drums. At the time I had my friend Jeff's Gibson SG and it was giving me a killer, biting tone that inspired me to play the main riff of the song. The whole song was built around those couple of early bars.

Perfect Day - I wrote this with my niece, Shannon when she was about 11 years old. She came over for a holiday visit and was showing interest in music so we put a song together that came from her diary. This is not that version.... the version from that day was much more simple and kid-like. I realized later that it was a pretty good song and I decided to snaz it up a little. My goal was to think outside my box with the instrumentation and make it sound more electronic and dreamy.

Resumé - Written by Unspun towards the end of our run. We played this a few times live but never had the chance to really dig into this song. This was recorded in the same sessions as "Start" and "Stop Me Turning Grey" which we did finish and release in limited quantities. Eric Helmuth recorded this in his loft studio in Portchester, NY. We were lucky enough to rent some vintage gear, including a Neve sidecar mixer that arrived straight out of a Smashing Pumpkins session. No vocals on this as we never got around to it and a lot of this was recorded live to tape with a few overdubs.
Personnel: RD - guitars, John Smith -  guitars, Christian Celeya -  bass, John Joyce -  drums.

Reunion - This one is a few unfinished songs/parts in one. I had lyrics but never got around to singing them. It's pretty thick and there are a lot of sections and textures. It was definitely inspired by Pete Townsend and some of Radiohead's more rambling songs. To me it sounds a bit like prog rock. Those who know my stuff will hear a couple of familiar melodies. It was recorded at my house around the time of "Interim" with Dave Ramie on drums. I played everything else.