Monday, September 1, 2014

'We Hope You like Our New Direction"


I've been snail-like on the music front lately. I've had a few scheduled rehearsals fall through and haven't really been able to conjure up any real musical MOJO. I have a core group of songs ready for further production and I hope to start working on these this fall with my friend and Unspun drummer, John Joyce. I noodle a little here and there (when I'm able to stay awake) and sometimes come up with something kind of interesting. This one is in it's infancy and totally digital except for a few guitar parts. I hear a lot of possible melody lines and ideas but nothing is sticking at the moment. The big chords/hits on the chorus section are actually done in real time on my iPad using an app called "Addictive Synth". There are so many great music making apps for iPad that prsent a totally new way of making music. Some apps that I have are "Animoog", "Vogel CMI", which emulates the Fairlight CMI,"Voice Synth", which is a sick vocoder/sampler and "IMPC", which emulates the MPC Samplers used on a lot of hip hop stuff. We'll see how this track goes from here.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

"Til the Break of Day" by Last Tribe


From Last Tribe's "Substance and Soul" record... One of my favorite songs on that record. It was the band's first time in a real recording studio and we fought hard to record just about every song we had. We ended up releasing the record with 15 tunes on it although we probably should have trimmed it down to 11 or 12. This song was a bit self indulgent, especially for me, and I don't think we ever played this track live. We certainly didn't after the record was released as there were probably about 10 guitar tracks on it. At the time I was listening to a lot of David Gilmour and Allan Holdsworth and it reflects a little in the solo.
It was recorded at Pyramid Sound Studios in Ithaca, NY by Alex Perialas and Rob Hunter. Alex was a Metal/Hardcore/Screamo producer and didn't really understand where Last Tribe was coming from. Regardless, he looked at our band as a pop/rock hopeful for metal label Energy Records and signed us to a deal. He introduced us to larger, louder amps and he also had some beautiful guitars to record with, as well as a beautiful recording studio with a 48 track Neve console. I remember playing the solo on a white Charvel that had a sweet, rich tone through a Marshall head and a four twelve cabinet. Although I always tried to steer clear of guitars of that ilk (Charvel, Kramer etc.) that guitar was a screamer and played so nicely. The rhythm stuff was done with a Strat through my JC-120 and is super clean. I always enjoyed Pete Jameson's excellent fretless bass playing on this track.

Despite being in a recording studio with fantastic gear, the original mix of "Substance and Soul" came out like poops. It was a classic case of "it ain't the gear, it's the ear" and unfortunately Mr. Perialas' ears were fried. I ended up re-mixing/salvaging the entire album down at The Hit Factory NYC and BearTracks with engineer Doug Oberkircher. Because of the poor quality of the recorded drum tracks, most of what you hear are triggered samples on kick and snare. The snare sample came right from The Red Hot Chili Peppers' "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" record, hence the gated reverb sound on it.




Monday, March 10, 2014

Wetlands Preserve Book

On Facebook I follow the band The Authority, who were our (Last Tribe's) contemporaries back in the 90's. Our two band's were the prominent bands out of Rockland County, NY that were packing Wetland's Preserve down in NYC on a regular basis. The new hippie scene started there by Phish, Blues Traveler and the Spin Doctors was just taking off and those bands were starting to play bigger venues while we were coming up and filling their shoes. Admittedly, the Authority was more tapped into that scene than we were as they were a funk band and we were more of a rock band. Some relatively unknown bands playing the venue at the same time as us were Dave Matthews, 311, The Wallflowers and Warren Haynes to name a few.

So I got the post mentioning a new book about Wetlands being done by deceased owner Larry Bloch's wife, Laura, on Kickstarter. I went to the site here and there was my band's name being featured on an old Wetland's Calendar front and center. It looks like Laura has met her goal of $17500 and the book will be published in June of this year. Great stuff, I look forward to the book and the many memories it will stir up for so many people. Over 2500 bands played that venue during it's 13 year run in lower Manhattan.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Unspun's "One" record

At the request of our old friend Allison Hagendorf (who is now a host on VH1) and many other friends, I finally put Unspun's first record "One" up for sale on iTunes and for streaming on Spotify. I am quite proud of this bunch of songs as it opened a lot of doors in the NYC music world and garnered us many new fans. We met a lot of industry kingpins and ended up being wooed by and signing a deal with Avery Lipman at Universal Republic records. Great days! You can access the record here.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Flying South

Things have been quiet musically on the homestead and especially here on this page but they should be picking up soon. I have a few songs that I'm itching to record but the situation hasn't presented itself to make this a reality. It's time to take action and make this happen. Winter is my favorite time to record as I have a lot of time on my hands and my creative juices start flowing. For me it's an instinct, like birds flying south or salmon heading up river.... winter is time to record. There's something about being in a warm studio, creating something new, while it's snowy and freezing outside. It's the way my life has gone for the last 25 years. This video was done in the winter during the recording of Unspun's "One" record way back in 1999. The song is "As The Evening Flows" and as you can see we were recording to 2 inch tape. I had a little trouble nailing that guitar arpeggio but I finally got it. We had to try different things like changing the lighting to get me comfortable enough to get it right. I'm glad we did because I love that song... It's one of the first that John and I worked on for that record and the last song of the running order. It was recorded by Doug Oberkircher at his Little Bear Studios which was right next to BearTracks Studios. Great Days!





Thursday, December 12, 2013

Re-Record

My old manager is in the real estate business now. He called me up a few weeks ago and asked if I'd be interested in using one of my old tunes, "Bombs Away" for an internet add for a new app he's working on called Dot Loop. I agreed and his editor tried to cut the old 2 track mix around his video but that was difficult to do. The music also sounded a little dated so I decided to re-record a custom version to fit the existing video and this is what I ended up with... I will post the commercial when it's finished. Peace.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Demo's for new songs

Some new songs have been dripping out of me, slowly. It's not often that I have the time to sit quietly with a guitar or a keyboard and let my imagination run away. Usually when I do grab an instrument, something will come out and I will capture it roughly on my iPad...... but this time I decided to actually lay down a few tracks. Writing songs at this stage of my life is a funny thing. While I feel that I can write a decent song from time to time, I question WHY I should even bother? What's the purpose? What am I going to do with this song? Who's going to hear it? None of that should matter but it does. The other part of me, which I can't control, continues to flood my conscience with little ditties that I want to investigate... I almost feel guilty if I ignore them. I'm trying to collaborate with some musician friends of mine who I used to live and breath every musical idea with but as always, we are all older and life is busy. Everyone is settled firmly in their nest, including me. We'll see what happens. Until then, I'll always have the demos.... Here's a recent one: BTW, I upgraded my computer in a major way so I can now operate at a reasonable pace when recording. My old G4 served me well but while making "Tape and Glue" I literally was stuck in the stone age with that machine!