and the beat goes on…

10 06 2009


Guerrilla record making.  Have friends who’s friends owe them favors.  Hire one of the best drummers in LA for the price of 2 Mountain Dews and a lunch from California Pizza Kitchen.  Gerry Porter laid down drum tracks for six songs- maybe two takes each-like it was nothing.

michaelIt never hurts when said drummer is childhood friends, harkening back to days in Cleveland, with a sound engineer wizard who runs Blacksound Studios-a perfectly vibey place with a throw back to the 70’s.  Michael Parnin  welcomed three strangers into his space and we left on speaking terms.  So much so that we are going back for him to do final magic before we head to the airport tomorrow morning at 6 a.m.


After a few hours in the studio – the boyz blow off some steam shootin’ hoops.

We know we’ll have some culture shock going back to MI now that we are fully entrenched and on a rockstar schedule.  Noon is the new 7 a.m. – warmed up to do first vocals no sooner than 3 p.m. (like just getting started on your work day) – our breakfast / brunch / lunch is your dinner.  There was a band coming into the house we are staying at in “the Valley” at 10:30 p.m. just getting started on some work.  We are officially screwed for re-entry into the real world.


My job while we’ve been here has been simple…keep the receipts and keep the food available at all times for when the preggers “talent” looks like she is flagging.  It’s been an adventure of the best kind.  The stories we’ll have to tell baby of its time on Skid Row…

stairway to heaven

8 06 2009

stairway1Notice that the garbage can notes the location.  These have been up and down days.  Emotional roller-coaster days for sure.  Long hours, hard work, tedious work – good work days and bad work days.  Life keeps happening around us even tho we are in this creative bubble.

DSC_0022The phone rings we get news that disturbs.  One of Best Boy’s business partners quite by accident – literally – discovers he has a brain tumor (check out his blog).  It reminds us all that we are living on a faultline.  None of us knows from one day to the next what will come our way.  But we know WHO is in charge.

nitewindowThe sun comes up  – the sun goes down each day has its own trouble – no need to worry about tomorrow’s trouble.  Living in the moment and hanging on for dear life.

simmer down…

6 06 2009

runawayThere is a scene in Runaway Bride where Julia Roberts is dressed to walk down the aisle yet again – starts to hyperventilate – and stands in front of an oscillating fan.  Shop Girl’s take on that was after being in the iso (isolation) booth which we call the Womb as it is a tiny, very cushy box for vocals and guitar tracks…but no ventilation.

So after an hour of tracking guitar and vocals and being extremely frustrated – she decided to listen to the demo and realized that she was playing in the wrong key.  Thank God for the fan – a computer – a demo and some brains.  We got a good laugh out of it.  Naturally she nailed the vocals when they were connecting with her brain…

palmDriving back to our digs that evening we did one of the ultimate tests of good sound recordings…cranking them up on a car stereo.  We took notes and knew what had to be fixed the next day.  But it was a moment in that magical light – to feel so good.

crosslaAnd is just like every production story…the next morning it all went south.  Our dongle went dumb.  No more Logic.  This is techy speak for OHMYGODWHATDOYOUMEANWECANNOTACCESSALLTHEWORKWEHAVEDONE!

angleBegging the studio angel of music mercy to have compassion on our lowly estate, she smiled on us and all “seems” well.  We borrowed a dongle and press on!

even in the rain…

3 06 2009

coreyyardI saw lightening this afternoon and heard thunder.  It’s pouring.  In the last two days I’ve seen more hummingbirds than sparrows.

dirtyguitarLast night, or was it this morning, Evan laid down some killer dirty guitar tracks…think Pulp Fiction.  They say things like that and know what it means.


It helps to have a guitar player / producer / keyboardist / vocalist who has tour tags from opening with the likes of Sheryl Crow and John Mayer helping you out.

micIt’s not about razmataz…it is about ears that hear.  It’s about making audio polaroids that capture just the right mood.  Translating melodies that roll around in her head – making them real…fully clothed and in all their splendor one layer at a time.

oooohstairJust as the homeless that line the streets outside are settling in for another night on their extra firm mattresses…you mic the concrete stairwell knowing that the echo will really echo and not be contrived.

lanight2So for all its flaws, all its raw scars, its sirens, urine and stench…there is a incessant low rumbling hum in LA.  It is energy – a creative energy – like in few places on the planet.  Fourteen hours after we got started, we stumbled out into the darkness and found our way to soft beds…feeling a tad guilty the whole time.