Studio Blog 9

Posted in Bands, Rants and Moans, Recording on October 13, 2010 by WeeMann

20:00. Just took a short break for sustainance.

Started work on Devil’s Tree, a relaxed jazz style affair that’s right out of my comfort zone, so I’m getting Mike to direct me section by section. It’s a lovely song and has the potential for a great bass line just as long as I can get into the groove.

It turns out that Mike has had the same treatment by Ade from Usual Suspects as I did – Ade’s been rehearsing a couple of guitarists behind Mike’s back.  Turns out they were coming into the studio to rehearse tonight, taking Steve away from the desk for a couple of hours.  Mike and I listened from upstairs in breaks from recording.  Doesn’t sound that great, but I know that will just sound like sour grapes. In my opinion Ade was always the weak link of the band, but it is his band, so sacking him and getting a new singer was always going to be difficult. Suggested we form a new band with Steve and get a new singer…

Studio Blog 8

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 13, 2010 by WeeMann

12:30 As expected I’m here first.

12:43 Not as bad as expected! He’s awake!!

16:00 Just finished Perfect Moments. Ironic as there were many moments which were far from perfect in the first couple of run throughs! Towards the end of the song Mike had added some guitar parts which, rhythmically, follow the drum parts and which all differ. It took several attempts to get them right but I’m glad we didn’t take the easy route of leaving it straight, it sounds great now.

Six down, two to go.  Below is Mike looking all serious!

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Studio Blog 7

Posted in Bands, F1, Recording on October 12, 2010 by WeeMann

Sunday 11:30. Just woken Steve up to see what time he’s getting to the studio. I’m betting it won’t be before me! He says he’ll be there at 12:30…

Been up since 6 as I was watching the Japanese GP so I wonder how long I’ll last!

Studio Blog 6A

Posted in Bands, Pop Culture, Recording, Special Events on October 12, 2010 by WeeMann

Sat 17:00. We ended up doing no more last night. Mike had to run and Steve and his brother got chatting to Paul, a studio owner from New York who they’ve met with and who seems to be very interested in what they’re doing.  A lovely bloke who’s worked with people like Bill Withers, Celine Dion, Natalie Cole and Michael Bolton, among others. He’s a bassist (which, based on his experience, made me a little nervous while I was recording with him in the room!) and it turns out he and I both had the same first couple of basses – a Maya and a Columbus. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone who’s even heard of Maya before, let alone owned one! I had mine stolen many years ago, but I still have the Columbus, which is the fretless I used yesterday.

This afternoon I went into Birmingham with my mate Jason to see a bass clinic by Billy Sheehan, one of my favourite players. He’s currently recording the new Mr Big album with Kevin Shirley at the helm. Based on the results of the last album by Iron Maiden I’m looking forward to this.

Billy’s always used Ampeg amps, but has recently started using Hartke (my amp of choice). He hasn’t got his tone completely nailed yet, but it’s recognisable as his sound.  I videoed a couple of clips of him with my phone.  Unfortunately the sound was overloading the phone’s mic, but you get the idea!

The first is the solo section from Mr Big’s Alive & Kickin’ from their Lean Into album:

The second is a 5 minute solo:

For better footage of him live, check out this “Solo” duetting with Paul Gilbert:

Back into the studio tomorrow to finish everything off.

Studio Blog 6

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 11, 2010 by WeeMann

19:00. Got back to the studio to find that Mike had arrived. He likes it all except the flamenco bit as it overlaps a drum fill he wants left quite open. The idea was conceived between Steve and Nev, both agreeing that the bass needed just a couple of extra notes before finishing. Of course, both started on the “We told you it was a bad idea” type talk when Mike came in!

Just finished 2 tracks using my fretless. Surprisingly these have proved the quickest to track so far. I’ve had the fretless almost as long as I’ve been playing (about 22 years) but I don’t play it very often, so I worry about my intonation, but I seemed to be pretty much bang on all the way through these songs. Steve’s got a good ear, so when I was out he was almost ahead of me in realising and re-starting the recorder.

One more to do then we may call it a day then come back to the last couple on Sunday.

Below you can see Steve getting confused by a lack of frets on my bass!

Studio Blog 5

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 11, 2010 by WeeMann

15:00. Had to pop out to get my daughter from school. Working on Queen Of Pain now. The main line went down really quick and then we started on a little overdub – almost a solo. Steve and Nev, who has now joined us, both agreed it needed a few extra notes at the end.

Before I came out we got a little double tracked flamenco style arpeggio run down recorded which I’ll tidy up when I get back.

Studio Blog 4

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 11, 2010 by WeeMann

13:20. After We Fall basic tracking done, but again sounds ahead of the beat in places. Need to do 3 or 4 overdubs. Getting into the groove nicely though and it’s handy to have Steve producing as he plays bass too and also knows what I’m capable of so won’t let me give up.

Below are a couple of clips recorded as I start to get into the groove. As you can see, the first take was going well until I lost which chord was coming next…


Studio Blog 3

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 10, 2010 by WeeMann

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12:30. Start To Wonder done. Seemed to be consistently ahead of the beat but we’ve got it sorted now.

For some reason Pro-Tools was playing the tracks slightly early despite all our best efforts and this is one of those tracks where the bass really needs to be a little behind the beat. Not sure how Steve fixed it, but the result works. Now it’s up to Mike to decide if he wants to use the whole track or cut and paste.

Studio Blog 2

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 9, 2010 by WeeMann

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The tracks we’re recording are for Mike, guitarist with Usual Suspects. He’s written a few and has been working on recording them for a while now and I offered my services. Although Mike is an accomplished bass player he prefers the idea of different musicians adding their own personality to the songs.

So, to the session.  We’re using 2 mics on the cab, an Audix D6 and a Sennheiser 421. We may have to play with the positioning of the cab as I could hear some rattling in the room while I was warming up.

First track up is Start To Wonder which is a straightforward repeating riff which we may cut and paste to get really tight (depending on how well I play it!)

Studio Blog 1

Posted in Bands, Recording on October 8, 2010 by WeeMann

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10:30 and I’ve been here for an hour while we struggle to get Pro-Tools working. Last night it was playing up but I think it’s working now. Just letting it update at the moment.

The amp’s set up and waiting for the mics and will tune my guitars shortly.

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