April 20, 2007

First Solo Recording (Repost)

This post originally appeared on my Tales From Dead Dog Express blog on November 28, 2004.
After working on the lyric re-writes for about a week, I returned to the Goodsite studio to complete the demo.

When I arrived to work on the songs, Bob had a friend in the studio. Scott was a keyboard player that Bob was collaborating with and they had some work planned for a bit later in the day. Bob asked if I would mind that Scott hung around and though it did make me a little uncomfortable, I said it would be fine.

We listened to playback of the tracks from the previous session to get warmed up. I asked Bob if we could re-track a couple of the lead guitar overdubs that just didn't quite work. I ran down a basic feel that I wanted to change and Bob talked to me about using a new stomp box he just bought, a phase shifter. We hooked it up and did a quick rehearsal on one of the tracks I wanted to record. It sounded great! Little did I know that Bob ran live tape on the rehearsal take. When it was done, he said, "Dave, listen to this. I think that song is done now." He was right. My test became the keeper for that song. It just sort of flowed forth and with the phase shifter, it was a perfect fit. Quickly working through the remaining overdubs, we moved to the lyric parts.

Should have stopped while I was ahead. A singer, I'm not. Still.

Bob offered some ideas to help me with my delivery and did a fair amount of tape tricks to minimize the poor performance. Rather than trying to force something that just wasn't there, I decided to get the lyrics down and call it a day.

Despite the vocals, this session did a lot to bolster my self-confidence as a songwriter/performer. It allowed me to see that I could write material and perform it on my own. (I could always hire a singer, right? Take voice lessons?) For the next couple of months, I "shopped" my tape around to other musicians I knew and began to educate myself in recording techniques. I continued writing and fashioned a rudimentary multitrack recording set-up using 2 standard cassette recorders. This allowed me to develop my ideas in greater detail and rehearse the vocal parts in advance. This would help me to convey the concept to other musicians must easier and save me time and money and frustration.



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