01/01/11 - Last January Sleepnovox was out and just starting to make it's way to iTunes, Amazon, BestBuy, Napster etc. It's quite a step for us that exactly a year later we are ready to start recording the next album.
03/08/11 - We launched into an uncharacteristic hard rockish sort of jam last night. I was trying to channel Helter Skelter and Patrick was clearly shooting for a Led Zeppelin feel. Upon completion, Thomas removed his headphones and earnestly remarked "I was going for Fat Albert's Junkyard Band."
05/10/11 - Thomas was unhappy with current mixes so he spent some time adjusting microphones. We're working on arrangements before recording. While rehearsing Mary, I dropped a drumstick and Patrick a pick at virtually the same time. It was magic.
06/06/11 - Was listening to The Hollies recording of "The Air That I Breathe" when I discovered a Warren Zevon arranged version done earlier by Phil Everly. Hey, pretty neat! Then I learned that the song was actually co-written by Albert Hammond and was on his "It Never Rains In Southern California" album. A visit to Wikipedia unearthed this jewel: Thom Yorke of Radiohead shares royalties and writing credits with Albert Hammond and Mike Hazlewood on "Creep" due to similarities between that song and "The Air That I Breathe." My stars!
06/07/11 - Inside joke: when we get to the end of songs that have uncertain endings (because they will fade out on the album) we default to George Harrison's "Long, Long, Long." This really just means that Patrick adds the funny little wailing part over the collapsing song. It amuses me without fail.
06/10/11 - This month marks 11 years since Patrick became the third permanent Girl. I also moved from guitar to drums that month. It is just over 5 years since Thomas started working with us as a producer and ultimately the 4th Girl. We'll have to survive 12 years intact to get this album completed. I like our odds.
07/06/11 - Patrick surprised us with new mixes of "12." We were unaware that this was a project he had been working on since November. The results are outstanding. The songs are cleaner and more alive. Well done Pattypants.
07/12/11 - The Girls are ready to record some beats. Going to have a go at Liquid 9 hopefully next week. Also planning on re-issuing Patrick's remixed version of "12" with perhaps a different version of original cover art and packaging. Girls are in motion.
07/18/11 - Patrick and I are at the Uptown Theatre to see Fleet Foxes.
07/19/11 - The Girls are off to Liquid 9. Recorded multiple takes of End Of Summer, Wrong Star, Domino, Follow Me and Mary.
07/24/11 - (from Thomas) I got a chance to load the sessions this fine Sunday morning. Overall the results are far superior to what we have been able to get at Aquasound. I attribute this mostly to the larger size of the room, although the quality and quantity of nice mic-pres certainly doesn't hurt. The kit sounds good, I like the kick a lot. I'm not sold on the sound of the snare, but I haven't messed with it much yet. The floor tom is very nice and the rack tom is almost as good although a bit less filled out (compared to the floor tom).
These are all very minor issues in my mind. The overheads and room mics are dandy, again a "room size" benefit. I will begin the process of finding the best takes and will send out copies of the takes I've chosen for your perusal and approval.
08/02/11 - Today the Girls will be elbowing their way through Babble Scruffs to get to the front door of Liquid 9. Beats will be converted to bytes.
08/03/11 - Last night we seemed to have captured good takes of End Of Summer, Domino, Follow Me, Mary and Gander.
08/09/11 - Close to having drums for 6 songs ready to go. Marching off to Liquid 9 today to try to add to the pile. We have finished with the most of the tightly structured material and are now venturing into the looser, jammier stuff which may lower our current average yield of 3 songs per session. The Allman Sisters: Now with 45% more jamming with none of the drugs or alcohol. Let's see what water, green tea and power bars can do.
08/23/11 - One last session at Liquid 9 this evening. It appears that we now have drum tracks for all twelve songs and will start tracking the balance of the parts at Aquasound next week. Thanks so much to Liquid 9 for letting us use the studio and the gear.
08/30/11 - Thomas and I tore down drums and microphones, Dr. Brown dragged in a sofa for non-engaged parties and Patrick loaded the tracks from Liquid 9. We are ready to start recording bass parts next week.
09/06/11 - Steven recorded bass parts for Follow Me and Blacktop. He started on Sulfer not content with his parts so we immediately began to medel with it. I originally heard The Cardigans' "Say That You Love Me" presence for the bass but Patrick wanted to go with more of a "Sleep Walk" feel overall. Decided that the rhythm section could stay Cardigany and the guitars could suggest "Sleep Walk."
Thomas is working on mastering Patrick's re-mixes of "12."
09/13/11 - Thomas brought us a re-mastered version of "12" to listen to. All were delighted. Patrick looked at some vinyl prices for re-pressing. Steven recorded bass parts for Wrong Star and Harriet. Thomas recorded an alternate bass track for Wrong Star. At one point Thomas was wiping the neck of the Jazz while Steven was wiping the neck of the Precision and Patrick made a very uncharacteristic rude gesture/comment. The odd thing is that he said it under his breath - like the response was conditioned and he was trying to suppress it.
09/20/11 - Worked on End Of Summer. Thomas asked me to pick up the Strat and record a scratch rhythm guitar track before Steven started recording bass parts. Did. Steven used the Precision to try some simple and then bubbly takes.
At the end of the drum take that we ended up using I can be heard screaming "I've got whiskers on my wiener!" Of course now we hear this every time we record a part - successfully or not. It made me think of how the Fabbies heard the Blisters line every time they added tracks to Helter Skelter and still decided to keep it. It's possible that the Blisters line, while delivered earnestly, wasn't an organic part of the drum tracks that they decided to use. Perhaps they added it as a garnish.
Talked about having this record be the self-titled album. If you don't do it on the first I think that history favors the third. The cover art we are using would be perfect.
09/27/11 - Steven recorded bass parts for Stupid Cloud. Patrick recorded the primary guitar part for Wrong Star on the Les Paul.
10/04/11 - Patrick and I recorded guitar bits for Follow Me using the Smith Strat. Going to try again next week using the Rickenbacker 370. We also both added tambourine parts to the song. For tambourine strikes Patrick held the device like an offering plate while I whacked it in time with a mallet. Steven read vintage Guitar Player magazines.
10/11/11 - Patrick imported the piano parts for Mary. He recorded acoustic parts for Domino and Harriet* using the National. Thomas wants him to try the Alvarez next week. I started to record some electric guitar parts for Harriet* but we ran out of time. Patrick wanted me to write in the journal that we were "occupying Aquasound" à la the Wall Street protests. A few weeks ago he wanted me to write "Just chillin' at Aquasound and layin' down some sweet tracks with the band." The moon is beautiful tonight.
10/18/11 - I recorded some Harriet* bits on the Tele and the Conrad 12 string. Patrick recorded a part during the chorus using the 12 string and Thomas added his Jackson 5 part in the same place using the Tele. We tried tuning all of the strings on the Tele to E to get the Beating Of Hearts sound but it had an intonation issue.
11/01/11 - Spent the first hour wanking on beautiful Vintaxe guitars. Steven unearthed another 12 string that we auditioned. Patrick wasn't happy with the previous bass recordings on Harriet* so Steven re-cut them using a different rig. Going to go again next week and record with the DI simultaneously. Thomas had a go with a bass line on the bridge. Harriet* was at 31 tracks before we started, which annoys Thomas. Decided that this will be the self-titled album. Still need to come up with artwork for the re-mixed/re-mastered "12."
11/08/11 - Set up Patrick to add some keyboard lines to Harriet*. Used B16 on the Juno through two small amps, including a 1955 Gibson. He mimed one of the call and response guitar parts and then used a wonky bass tone to follow the vocal on the chorus. Thomas used "gushing" and "jizzed" to describe two separate responses to good music.
11/15/11 - I showed Patrick a ditty I had on an acoustic tuned to E. He promised to turn it into gold. Thomas called in sick. We continued working on Harriet*. I put down some Here Comes The Sun bits during the chorus. We discoverd that a bass section went missing. Put down 3 tracks of banging on the guitar while making random adjustments to a delay pedal. The last of the 3 tracks Patrick and I played together.
11/22/11 - Thomas was less traumatized by the guitar parts that Patrick and I added last week so that was a promising start. Steven re-recorded some bass parts. We talked about some piano and horn parts. Listened to Angie for tone and feel. Listened to Mama Told Me Not To Come for a bit of inspiration for Wrong Star. Patrick got the piano ready for next session. Patrick brought the balance of the drum tracks. We listened to It's Summertime and My Wing.
12/06/11 - Learned that Soul Train first aired in 1971 and that the first issue of Ebony magazine was on newstands in 1945. BTW, I have a crew cut that is growing out awkwardly and for the last four consecutive sessions Patrick has asked if I am doing something to my hair, in a complimentary way. Like I am using product or a stylist to achieve my forlorn look.
12/12/11 - After two weeks fraught with technical issues Thomas was determined to will us to success tonight. I recorded several primary guitar parts and a hook while Thomas added some sweet piano noodling. This piece should be done musically once Patrick apes his acousitc part with an electric. Talked to Thomas about adding Sue's Green Dress as a kind of Her Majesty somewhere on the album, and performing it live with just an acoustic, vocals and some sort of tapping instrument.
12/20/11 - Sir Patrick helped Thomas rescue 3 days of work on Harriet that he lost. We spent the balance of the session marveling at the new mixes. Starting on It's Summertime next week.
12/27/11 - A very special 4 hour session today. We were determined to finish a song today (minus vocals) and did! The song was It's Summertime/Sliding Away/Riding A Wave/Various Other Titles. Patrick and I first played around with the arrangement. Patrick then recorded the primary guitar part on a Rickenbacker 370 and again on a Les Paul. Thomas recorded his part using the Les Paul. I didn't see what Steven used for bass. Something Fendery. When Steven was not on duty he was busy prying parts off of an old Teisco neck. Thomas also played us the latest mix of Harriet.