Boneheads Recording

Bonehead quotes in the studio

A “rapper” was admiring my console just last week…

“Look at all those knobs…You must be considerably perversed to work that shit.”

Then 30 seconds later…

“….it can self-capacitate itself.”

Boneheads Musicians Recording

The “Goth” band part I

Got a fun project with these “Gothic” rocker dudes. All they wear is black, with lots of silver jewelery, rings, chains etc… 3 piece power trio with semi gothic/opera vocals. They even bring their own silver chalices to drink wine from their 1 gallon jug they brought. They were even kind enough to bring me my own silver chalice!

We’re doing guitar trax and the guitar player is walking through the control room to the sound room. The layout of this old studio of mine had the JBL monitors hanging from the ceiling. They were fairly high up, but the dude was very tall. So he doesn’t see the speaker and BAM, he walks right into it. The speaker corner pierced right into the middle of his forehead and blood starts gushing everhwhere… The
dude went into shock and we took him into the lounge. We spent a couple of hours bandaging up his forehead and calming the dude down.

It took quite a while to calm him down and make him relax. I asked if he was ready to start laying down more guitar trax. Finally he was ready. So he walks into the control room and BAM! He hit’s his freaking forhead on the same speaker! SESSION OVER.

More to come…

Boneheads Musicians Recording

The drifter

I’m painting one of my soundrooms. I’m on top of a ladder covered with paint. A “walk in” client suddenly appears. (I don’t have walk ins…) He’s interested in recording. I say when do you want to record and he says “now.”

Well ok then. Let me clean the paint off my face…. So I ask him what kind of project we are about to start on. He’s going to sing. Great, so I ask him what music he’s going to sing to… “I don’t need music.” He says.

I ask “so you’re going to sing with no music, just acappella?” ….Yes.

DUDE IS TONE DEAF. After “singing” for an hour in the most sour, out of tune fashion he asks if I have a guitar.

“I’ve got a strat here, but no amp” I say

He’s cool with that, doesn’t need an amp so we plug the fucker right in! I hand him a tuner.. He hands it back to me “I don’t need that, I have perfect pitch. I’ll tune it myself.”

He definitely doesn’t have perfect pitch. In fact he has NO pitch. So he takes the guitar and doesn’t even tune it. He then has me roll tape and he starts to pluck the strings and put his fingers in random positions on the frets of the guitar! HE DOESN’T PLAY THE GUITAR! We lay down a tune of guitar and vocals.

I mix the tunes and make a master. At that point I inform him of his bill. He asks me if he could bring the bucks by later and I say “sure.” (I figure as long as this guy owes me money, he’ll never come back). So I let the guy go with his master in hand, without paying a dime. I watched him leave and he had no car. He just walked down the street… I picked up the paint brush and start painting again.

Boneheads Recording

The strangest engineer I ever knew

I was at another studio doing drums for a rock album. When all the tracking was done we asked the flaky engineer/owner to mix it. This guy was a piece of work. He’d go to the bathroom and disappear for hours. He spouted wierd gibberish for hours. Anyway, he says “we can’t mix until we have a spiritual moment.” HUH?

He proceeds to tell us how he was driving down the road and smelled smoke. He thought something was wrong with his car, but when he looked down he noticed his arms were on fire. Upon looking out the window of his car, he saw Jesus Christ floating above his car. The light from Jesus Christ was so bright, it was burning his skin!

So we say “cool, uh, can we mix now?”

Then he tells us he’s tired because he had sex with his wife for 8 straight hours. We’re saying “woa dude” but he says “it’s not physical sex, it’s spiritual sex.” Oh shit, here we go again…

He proceeds to tell us that when he has sex with his wife, they sit in a plain room with no pictures or items in the room…only one light hanging from the ceiling. They then have “spiritual sex” by starring into each other’s eyes without even blinking for hours and hours…

“Uh, can we mix now?”…..sure

A while into the mix he says he’s gotta take off for a while and lets us run the board while he’s gone.

We’re working the mix and tweaking when some guy we’ve never met walks into the control room. “Is Sam here?” the guy asks? We tell him we don’t know where he is… He say’s ok, then proceeds to unplug the Yamaha NS10 studio speakers and haul them off….


Banging your head against the wall

I’m working on some new music in the studio with my two buddies Kent and Matt. This is like our millionth studio project. We get together to work on some kind of music every Wednesday.

Last week we started to work on the drums of this new tune. We have some basic dummy tracks down from the week before (bass, keys, theremin). The music we usually do is very technical. This tune however, is much more straight ahead and simple. The tune has a shuffle groove at a medium pace. As a drummer (and a musician) I find it harder to play slower tempo tunes and sound tight than fast ones. This tune is no exception.

I did take after take last week on this simple tune. I just couldn’t get the groove happening to my satisfaction. After about 3 hours I threw my cans off and called it a night. My chops just weren’t there that night.

I played a gig last Friday night and I had hoped maybe that would get my chops back. It may have done the trick because tonight I sat down and did the tune after about 15 minutes of tracking. Not only did I do in 15 minutes what I couldn’t do in 3 hours last week, it sounded decent too. It just happened with no extra concentration and no forcing it.

So the moral to the story for me is something that has bugged me about doing studio work for the last 20+ years as an engineer. You have to be able to tell when your takes are happening and when they are not. If you sit there in the studio doing it over and over and over forever then move on! Do something else…go to dinner…do jumping jacks. Playing the same freaking take a million times will not usually result in an good sounding & inspired cut. If you can’t get it in the first few takes do yourself, your bandmates, your engineer and your record label a favor TAKE A BREAK.