I got to fly to Atlanta this past weekend to lay down bass tracks for a demo that will hopefully start churning up big things for me musically. I'm pretty proud of how it's coming together. We rehearsed our butts off Friday and spent almost 8 hours recording 5 songs on Saturday (though the drum tracks had already been recorded by drummer extraordinaire John Astaire). I think it's going to sound great. My only lament is a minor one - I would've loved to have played my own bass on it, but I couldn't really fly with it for various reasons.
Things I learned this weekend:
- Fred is a gracious host and an incredible guitarist. He came up with this tuning that he solos in with an amazing degree of comfort. And his solos are never short on originality or ideas. There's always something cool to latch onto when listening to them.
- Fred says to me: "You haven't? Well today's the day - get on. Clutch is the left hand, front brake is the right hand. Shift with your left foot, and the rear brake is your right foot. First gear is down, the rest are up, and neutral is in the middle. Don't worry the clutch on this one is very forgiving. Good luck." It was a blast, even at 20 mph and under.
- The Traben Phoenix is a nicely constructed, decent sounding, heavy ass bass with inlays that are horribly confusing and impractical. But seriously - you can drive nails with this thing. It's built to last.
- Relating to the above, the 1977 MusicMan Sting Ray (my electric bass, also known as "Sade" because it's smmooooovvvve) was way ahead of the times in terms of sound, electronics, aesthetics, and practicality. It is only exceeded in the "no-frills" category by the G&L L-1000 and the Fender Precision bass. It is not a coincidence that these basses were all designed by the same guy.
- I have a new found respect for metal drummers. Not those pansies you hear on the radio. I'm talking about the hard drummers with the metronomic timing no matter what effed up time signature they're switching in and out of. I'm talking about the lightening fast drummers that give the snare drum the same cadences of a machine gun. And yeah, playing the double bass drum so fast it sounds like a chopper landing is pretty pointless/funny, but still pretty bad ass.
- On your superbikes (or really even your Schwinn), all the braking power comes from the front. That's why the disks are so big on the front wheel. That being said, when there are rocks around, engage the rear brake first.
- Jeff Tomei knows knows his way around a damn console. Watching this guy work is amazing. And I'm guessing that there's no one at that level who is easier to work with. If I sound good on this recording, Jeff should get the credit.
- Fred's right: the vocals pretty much just become another instrument when they're that intense.
In short, I had a blast. I had thought to take pictures, but I didn't want any distractions. (You, dear reader, are worth much more than photos snapped on a cell phone. And also, I don't have a cell phone.) I'll post updates at some point if I can.