Pedal Steel – Day 2.
We’re not due in the studio until 2PM but I have to work most of the morning and early afternoon in Logic – tidying up the files I worked on with Blair and rendering and then exporting the audio files. We need Man Overboard (accordion) and Blair’s tune (the kitchen sink) imported into MAM’s system before we can do steel.
This takes longer than I had expected and we’re not at the studio until 2.30 or so and I’m already somewhat fried. I hate doing the computer stuff these days. In fact I’m vowing never to make another song record that way again. I may still fool around with my synth stuff in there, but songs are going to be old school from here on out.
Man Overboard first. This is a little frustrating – I can hear Bob warming up with a cool counterpart to the main refrain, but I know there is more than enough on the track already. I had deliberately left space for him in the mid section. But not much space. One of the great things about the steel is it’s ability do seemingly almost nothing, and yet add that metalic shimmer which I love, and when it’s done right it can add some pretty far out harmonies without them jumping out at you. Bob does exactly this, and then plays a lovely line along with the solo guitar leading into a whacky slide Doppler thing to get out. There is a lot going on here but I think it should be fun to mix. Mick has been warned that I don’t want the listener to necessarily be able to identify exactly what every instrument is doing. I just want a big noise that I like.
On to Blair’s tune. The last steel track. Or we’d like to be doing it. MAM’s system goes into free fall and we lose a while. He backs up there and then to be super safe (smart). Still, it’s 7 before we get started and M Schwaber has already arrived to play a little guitar and try some harmonies. We thought we’d be done by now.
There isn’t any particular part that seems right for the steel on this tune, so I have Bob play probably much more than we need, lead style and we comp it. I really can’t tell how much will be used. It’s tough on a song where one only has a melody for the vocal (I’m trying to write the lyric today as I type on the train to NYC – I’ll be on that after I finish this).
Mark records the simple intro part that I had sketched in NYC (his technique is better than mine for little intricate parts like this) and then after making a rough mix we try his harmony ideas.
I’m awful with harmonies. I don’t have the kind of brain which tends to write them and I usually reject even the good ideas. I now know this, and I also know that I have enjoyed harmonies on my songs from time to time (especially the Wittman ones he had me sing on What’s WWT Picture?). So I have MS record the ideas. On Man Overboard and If I were a song I’m really not sure, but I’ll have Derby listen to them in NYC, but the part he comes up with (and I actually help with a little bit) on The New Yorkers (That’s Alright) is really strong. It’s a little weird to have anyone singing along on such a personal lyric, but frankly he’s got me down. It sounds like two of me. He has an idea for Westchester but it’s getting late and Bob has a nasty headache. I get him back to spare room. He has to be at the airport by 7.45. That’s a 6.20 wake up call. Yikes!