Kelly In Catty

This blog is Kell's attempt to keep in touch with friends far away who complain that I don't e-mail nearly enough.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

In Record(ed) Time

Last night, my band recorded our first demo... That is, we actually went to a studio, paid a good sum of gig money, and had a professional engineer record us pickin' and singing...

We did not simply edit a past radio show (although we squeezed a few decent demos out of that, thanks to Phil-the-nutty-guy-on-college-radio, who says, "If you want a local music scene, create one."). We also avoided the test of pure endurance that marked recording with our prior band member... He loved that 60's style echo-chamber singing that makes me ill... With Bob at the helm, we were *sure* to make loads of moolah with our reverb-laden hit album, "Live from the Holland Tunnel..." Yeah.

I'd like to say it was a breezy, care free experience, but I have to be honest. Emotions were running high. I'll just talk about MINE - and leave my bandmates out of it. I went in without thinking much of it. I'd had a marathon six-hour meeting with a client all day, so I was preoccupied. When I sat down, I realized how tight my throat felt. I had battled a cold all week, and was crossing my fingers. Water wasn't even helping. Each time I took a drink, my throat seemed drier.

Dave sang the first song "Sittin On Top of the World..." - so, naturally it was great. Nailed in two takes. The next song was ambitious on several counts (Cheer up, Sleepy Jean...). First, for a song written by a member of one of my LEAST favorite bands (John Stewart of the Kingston Trio), and made really famous by a band called the MONKEES, this is a song laden with pretty intricate chords that come along at times unnatural to my bluegrass experience. G-Am-Bm-C-G-Em-A-D... Think about it. In many of his songs, Even the great Bob Dylan used only three chords...

We blew through 4 takes, and I was choking. (Incidentally, when we convened in the control room, we listened to take 4 of this song first. I thought, "Man, what a creative way to waste a lot of money and embarrass myself in front of a sound designer...")

Ok. From there, we moved on to "Angel From Montgomery." Easy. I think we made it through three takes. It was okay.

What surprised me about the experience was how incredibly tense it made my band. We're the ones who jovially banter with drunks. We rib Fran incessantly about dating. Fran imitates Scott's voice to a "T." Dave quotes "Summer Vacation" so much that I want to surgically remove the words 'prairie doggin' from his vocal cords. I yell "Chick in the Room!" when the conversation is fueled with testosterone. Once, when a particularly drunk male barfly yelled "Hey, are you married?" across the room to me, Dave answered, "No, man. I'm not really into that kind of stuff, but what the hell." This is the kind of group we are.

Not so in the studio.

Dave was unusually quiet. Fran was kind of short (we didn't give him a microphone, like we normally do on local radio shows and at gigs) (Don't look at me that way! He himself said he can't control his vocals....). We were kind of serious. The only person seemingly un-stressed out by the whole experience was Scott. I attribute this to the fact he's works such long, crazy hours that anything not related to his job is a pleasure.

It's not that we didn't have a good time, or joke, or laugh... But we were clearly nervous. I'm just wondering if this experience somehow made us really commit to what we're doing -

Look, the demo isn't going to make us rich - but it should get us gigs.

I'm hoping to use the opportunity to meet and photograph "The Locals..." Like Esteban, One-Eyed Joe, Drunk Dave, Fat Drunk Chick, Riverdance, Chatty Pete, and the rest of the people that amuse us. I want a scrapbook of all of them - And heck, we'll even throw in the studio photos we took.

Looking ahead definitely puts my mind back where we as a band wanna be - back in front of people. We think music should be interactive... But if we have to go back in the studio, that's fine too. When it comes right down to it, who really gets to do this?


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