This last 10 days has not been easy. But we are getting there. Today was my last day in MA before the NYC sessions at the Magic Shop with Joan and Dave. Also my last chance to record Will.
The priority today is to get the vocals done that Joan and Dave need to harmonize with. Some of the guides are good enough, definitely not No Truck or It’s Late, though…
First thing – No Truck. I didn’t write this the other night because it was too depressing, but when I took a couple of hours from my day off to make rough mixes I had wanted to make one for No Truck, but when I listened to it the guitars were out of time and I hoped it was just a glitch in the transfers but I was too tired to be sure what I’d listened to was as good as I had thought it was… hence the lack of sleep… Well, it was all fine. I WAS a glitch. Maybe a gremlin Blair left behind… Will’s guitars (all 3 of them) are great. All I have to do it to rearrange my part to keep it as simple as possible and re-record those bits. This takes an hour or so, and it sounds lovely.
While we’re on the song I decide to re-record the guide vocal because it’s awful, and the plan is – if I’m singing well (it is 11.30 AM) we’ll try to get the whole thing done. I am singing not too badly and the vocal is finished, and we’ve added percussion before Will arrives around 1 PM. It’s a short song.
On to It’s Late. As mentioned before, Will’s solo is good but could be better. We talk it over and he plays some new ideas, I add a couple and we have a plan (how may times did I write that here?).
It’s decided that I will try to sing the song first, as the solo plays off the vocal. I think this may be the first time Will has seen me tracking a vocal. It takes a little while to warm up but I get there and the comp is done by 3 or so, when Mark needs to run an errand.
Will work on the sound for the solo and I (as I have been doing all day during breaks) go back to the small room and make stems for the NYC recordings – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_mixing_and_mastering.
When Mark returns Will begins and he sounds awful. He was playing beautifully an hour ago acoustically on the strat… not to worry, he warms up pretty quickly and the last three takes are all near perfect. There is just one thing that we all agree might be better… Will is unashamedly channeling Quine here and he and I agree that to work a reference to the No Blue Skies riff would be a good thing. He has figured it out, but it’s not ringing as it should. So we keep the rest of the solo and drop in this figure using a capo. Still not perfect. I wonder why… Will points out that the part is not identical and that the last note requires the string to be fretted at the 2nd fret. In NBS there is no fretting. So I suggest he tunes the B string up to C# so it can be played open. I’m quite pleased with myself. It works. The solo is comped, we make a rough mix, transfer files, etc, and Will heads home. I move on to Blue Like Mars.
The guide vocal on BLM is one of the best I’ve ever done (No Blue Skies being the best – it is on the recording) but the mid section is weak and pitchy (ie out of tune, albeit only slightly…). I want Dave and Joan to harmonize with this part on the weekend so it needs to be right…. By 7.30 it’s done. I had hoped I could sing California Earthquake today, too, but I’ve worked 10 hours straight without a food break. I need to stop now.
I’ll come in in the morning and finish the stems and then I’ll drive to NYC with Will, get Mexican food with him in Brooklyn, and then retire to my Priceline Wall St hotel.