We really needed to record three basic tracks today to get back to being close to on schedule.
First thing we checked Westchester – we listened and checked edits and then we added the mandolin part that Mark had refined yesterday. He recorded it through my acoustic guitar set up and it sounds fine. Then we made a rough mix. The song is really swinging. Worth all the work… maybe…
On to Song 3 – ‘Rod the Mod’ – working title, hopefully obviously. We will not complain if this is compared, when it’s done, to ‘You Wear it Well’. This was called Astroturfing a few weeks ago, but was rewritten in rehearsals.
We settle on a tempo and then we just play, for a long time, until my fingers are in agony, my voice is weak, and the band know where all the crashes and stops should be. Granted this is a tricky arrangement…
Mark is playing mandolin live on this one so he has to DI it as a mic in the room would just pick up the drums but good news – the DI is surprisingly pleasant and the producer and engineer are maybe lobbying to use it…
So we play and we play and we play some more and we get there. The last but one take is close to perfect and Dave, Geoff and Digidesign do the rest.
The only overdub on this song, before we move on, is my acoustic and that is done relatively painlessly.
Song 4 – I want an easy one so that we can tackle a BIG one later, so I choose ‘K Stree Blues’.
Mark is again on the mandolin and his part needs a little work, so we spend some time trying to get the right feel. It is strange – the mandolin can sound almost like a keyboard if the part is to constant. So we work on making it more muted and rhythmic.
Getting the drum sound right takes time. The previous songs had been hard hitting – this is light – so mics are moved and it’s a good 45 mins before they have something they like.
We play though the tune a few times and all seems simple. I expect that we will run a few more and then nail it. Then things change and I don’t really know what happened, but it wasn’t good and it takes us another hour to get back to something close to the right thing, by which time my hands are really hurting, and my mood is deteriorating. I call for Ibuprofen. We take five and then somehow the last two takes, which I feel are just awful, are actually really good, and we have it. Never trust the musician.
We overdub my guitar and a guide vocal and it’s 7PM.
I check the bass against my guitar and there are a few outside notes that Rainy is playing that are great, and a few that need a little work. We realise that the reference for the notes is These Boots Were Made For Walking, and as soon as I have that I can see where it works and where it doesn’t. !5 mins later we’re done.
I choose ‘Why In The World’ as Song 5 because it is mellow and it think the closer mic’d sound from the last song will work for it, and I’m rewarded by a bunch of musicians who knuckle down and focus.
We listen to the rehearsal tapes and after just a few run thoughs we’re recording. Take 3, or maybe 4 is it. We check it. There is one bass improvement which takes 5 minutes and we have three songs and it not 9PM yet.
In the morning we will go over the mandolin on songs 3 and 4 and then overdub my guitar and vocal on #5 and then what? Actually I don’t know yet. It’s 12.43 and I’m going to get ready for bed. My wake up call is 8.