Post Cool will be officially released by Proper Records on 15th March 2010.
But, for those of you who can't wait, it will also be available at DL's shows from the beginning of the 2010 tour.
POST COOL a completely new album of Dennis Locorriere songs!
Recorded in June/July of 2009, with a group of wonderful musicians and produced by Pete Brown and DL, it is truly the most personal and intimate work DL has ever done.
His heartwrenching soulfulness and playfully wicked sense of humour comes across in his thoughtful lyrics and captivating melodies ...
and it's all delivered by that voice!
Dance On Daddy's Feet
She Don't Care
Don't Seem Right
The Sound Of A Train
I'm Impressed With Myself
You, Yourself and I
Standing As Tall As I Can
DL's personal 'day by day' diary of the making of his new album.
|FIRST THINGS FIRST||
26/01/09 at 08:31PM
| We've been getting quite a bit of email saying -
'Hey! There are no dates listed on the tourpage!
What's the matter???'.
Truth is, nothing is the matter.
Seems like I just unpacked, folks.
2008 included two months on the road with The RKs, a good handful of solo summer shows, Joe Brown's 50th Anniversary bash at The Albert and 26 solo Fall dates.
Nothing has been confirmed for this year yet, tho you can bet that there's plenty in the works...and you know I wouldn't say it if there weren't. No years and years of 'New album due any minute' or 'Autobiography out 2005!' nonsense around here.
Last year, when I came to the harsh realization that I wasn't going to be able to do my album, I told you that.
Not 36 hours after the decision was reached.
It wouldn't take a genius to figure out that everything always looks smoother from 'out there'.
Just like your life.
Most of the time, if you knew what was going on in the kitchen, you wouldn't enjoy the meal nearly as much.
And, as much as I wouldn't think of ruining anyone's dining experience, if there isn't going to be a meal, I don't want you waiting for one.
You don't need the showbiz bullshit and I don't need the pressure.
Now, as it turns out, 2009, my 60th year on this friggin' spinning rock we all call home, will probably see the release, or, as the old joke goes, escape, of my third album.
I've already started by playing lots of songs for the multi-talented gentleman who will co-produce the album with me.
We've narrowed it down to about 2 dozen so far, all of which will obviously not make the album.
No recording schedule yet, but it will all have to happen in the next few months.
I even have a title I really like.
I've had it for years, actually.
Feels like the right time for it.
I'll let you know who, what, where and when as it unfolds.
As far as more shows, I'm pretty sure I won't be able to sit it out for too long and will probably venture out for some solo shows in March-April.
Smaller, more intimate venues.
Could be some festival work here in the UK in the summer.
Ways for me to finally break some ice in Scandinavia are being discussed. That would be cool (pun intended!). Probably solo shows at first. I'd prefer that anyway.
The 'plan' right now - and you know how that stuff goes by now, dontcha? - is to put a band together for the Fall and do a major UK tour in support of the new album and my social standing in general.
There is also serious talk about a bunch of gigs in Ireland, north and south, sometime in the Fall, but it looks like they would be solo 'alone with' shows.
So, there you have a good idea of what we're trying to make happen for 2009.
Of course, there are always those things you didn't see coming, good and bad, but no sense trying to guess, is there?
As they come to fruition - or change - we'll let you know.
As for right now, I'm just trying to stay warm, finish a few songs and keep my eye on the next couple months, one day at a time. ~
25/02/09 at 04:33PM
|Went over the songs again today with my co-producer (?) and narrowed the 2 dozen down to 15 titles - 12 self-penned and 3 co-written.
If you've been to my shows you're familiar with a few of them.
But, some of them you wouldn't know if you were my closest friend.
Next step is to see if we can get the players we want, when we need them.
Scheduling can be the hardest part of a project like this.
Getting everyone together in one place at the same time for days on end.
I always have great reservations and anxiety about beginning anything of this importance.
That's where I am now. Usually something good comes from the inner turmoil.
But it always feels terrible for awhile. Anyway, there we are.
Might be some time til the next installment of ALBUM 2009 (I actually have a title!) as things get knocked into place for that next step. ~
|SO WE'VE BEEN TALKING IT THRU||
03/03/09 at 07:39PM
|and this is what it looks like and why.
We all agree that the next album is very important and should end up sounding exactly how we want it to sound.
We're excited about the songs we have to work with and want to make sure and get the players that we think would best suit the project.
To have the album out in the fall, in time for a tour, it would have to be completed and handed in by, at the latest, June.
That timing would give everyone enough time to plan the promotion, take any photos that might be needed, ready the artwork, etc, etc, etc.
After much discussion we've decided not to be slave to a self-imposed deadline but, rather, be totally commited to making a great album.
So, here's the plan -
We will do the album in the time it takes to get it done the way we want it to be done.
Because of several factors, June is, at this point, unrealistic.
The fall tour, which would have coincided with the release of the album, was going to be with a new band.
We have now decided to make the fall tour a solo affair.
Me and my guitars (Can you stand it? I love it!).
Between 20-30 dates in more intimate venues, as we've done before, including Ireland this time.
Probably beginning in late September-early October and going thru November, possibly into December.
These would, by the way, be preceded by a number of 'pre-tour' shows in late summer, most likely taking in some clubs, theatres and art centres.
The album will be ready for delivery to the label in enough time to have it out for Spring 2010, avoiding the Xmas crush that we'd be up against with a fall release, as well as being a great way to start the new year.
And, yes, the album will be supported by the band tour we postponed from the fall.
Most likely March into May 2010.
The band and I will play the bigger places like Glasgow Concert Hall, Liverpool Phil, as well as Irish dates like The Waterfront and, finally, a date in Dublin!
After careful consideration, this seems like the way to go.
It gets everything done and with, as I said, a minimum of compromise (there are always some).
I'm, personally, thrilled to know that the road spreads out ahead and takes me into next year.
No dates have been confirmed yet, but we now know how to carry on and they should start to firm up in the not too distant future.
I like the breathing space this revised (before it was even nailed down) plan gives us all, including you guys.
I also like knowing there's so much on the horizon and still room for surprises.
There are a few other very interesting projects that I want to have the time to pursue as well.
As things become more defined, you'll know. ~
|THE PLAN RIGHT NOW||
13/03/09 at 12:30PM
|is to rehearse with the musicians for a couple days, in mid- April, in preparation for recording the new album.
A few more days rehearsal will take place the first week in June, followed, later in the month, by the tracking sessions for the album.
Any overdubs and vocals will be done in the weeks after that.
Things could change a little, here and there, but, so far, that's the deal.
Cool, huh? ~
|NEW ALBUM, PHASE ONE||
11/04/09 at 10:49 AM #3
|Monday begins the first of a couple of rehearsal days for the new album.
I'm pretty anxious about it.
I've never prepared for the recording of an album like this before.
With OOTD and OOTLO we just worked until we were finished, using very few outside musicians.
There were no real time constraints.
Especially on the first one.
Nobody was waiting for it to be ready.
No one even knew if I was still alive.
The second album took a bit less time to record, and, at the time, I thought there was a planned release for it.
Of course, that deal unceremoniously fell apart and it took me about 3 years (or more) to get OOTLO out.
This project is being done with more purpose and deliberation.
The idea is to try and capture as much of it 'live' as we possibly can.
We'll see what that counts for in the end.
After the first rehearsal I'll post the names of the players...and my co-producer.
Happy holiday weekend! ~
14/04/09 at 08:34 AM #2
|First day of rehearsal went very well. My co-producer, Pete Brown (yes, Joe's son!), gathered some great players for the basic tracking sessions.
They are: Richard Milner on keyboards Mike Nichols on bass Paul Beevis on drums Pete will play all sorts of guitars and stringed things.
I'll be playing acoustic guitar on everything...like I do.
There will be additional musicians added, such as few horn players, here and there, before the tracks are finished.
What we went over yesterday felt good.
The key for me is always the drummer and Paul is great.
He can play any style of music, brilliantly (and we're touching on alot of them this time).
Gotta be out of here in an hour.
More later tonight, from home. ~
15/04/09 at 10:01AM #1
|Got home late last night.
We have several weeks to absorb and reflect on what we crammed into our skulls yesterday.
A couple more rehearsal days are scheduled before we actually record the album. Planning to record 15 songs in all.
I'm happy about all the songs chosen. They span a long period of writing for me. Recv'd high praise from the band on the material.
Lots of stuff there that even John and Adrian never heard.
Shines a light on just how much time I wasted in 'Music City, USA'.
Perhaps turning 60 will be good for something. ~
|NEW ALBUM REHEARSAL #3||
26/05/09 at 06:51 PM
|Another productive day and that much closer to how we want things to sound.
Even tho I wrote these songs over a long period of time they are all certainly feeling brand new to me now.
I found out today that I will probably have the same musicians on my Spring 2010 tour as will be on the album.
I have never experienced that before - to be able to sing and play the songs 'live' with the same players that recorded them - not even with Hook.
I love it!
One more rehearsal next week.
We'll record the album at the end of June.
Long day. Started early. I'm beat. Later. ~
|LAST REHEARSAL BEFORE
03/06/09 at 10:29 AM
|Well, the final day went just fine.
Played thru the rest of the songs that we will record at the end of the month.
The weather was far too nice to spend the day indoors, getting what is called a 'studio tan', but it was necessary to the process.
Nice guys, good musicians.
The album should be much to my liking when it's complete.
Strange to be projecting as far as the release and the 2010 band tour with the Fall solo tour looming, but it shows how well a brain can cope and compartmentalize when it has to.
My son, for example, is doing two plays simultaneously this month.
Two wildly different roles - the lead in a production of 'Macbeth' and the singing Nazi in 'The Producers'.
Imagine Macbeth giving the straight armed salute to his sentries as they enter?
I'm sure Jess doesn't even want to think about that!
Anyway, the son's working and I'm working on working, so there you go.
Once we begin I'll start posting song titles, etc.
Still haven't said the name of the album yet, have I?
We begin recording on June 22. ~
|FIRST DAY OF SUMMER||
21/06/09 at 01:30 PM
|Heading up to London tonight.
The downbeat on the new album is tomorrow.
The studio is wonderful.
The players are great.
Love the songs we've chosen.
I've never worked like this before.
My first two albums were done over lengthy periods of time.
OOTD didn't even have a scheduled release when we started recording it.
Just did it to be doing something.
OOTLO had a proposed label and release date, but that fell thru - lovvvvvvvvvvely business - and it was quite awhile before we got it out there.
The new album will be recorded over the next 4-6 weeks and the corresponding 2010 tour is already being planned.
Nervous as a cat.
I'll let you know how it's going once it actually starts to go.
So far, so good on this 60 thing, but I can already tell it's not my cup of meat.
Oh well...NEXT! ~
21/06/09 at 11:40 PM
|After reading my last post again I wanted to make sure that no one thinks I'm down and feeling sorry for myself about the upcoming 'birfday'.
It's, as the kids say, 'well cool' to have gotten here.
Wherever it is I am.
I think the thing that bugs me the most about this age is the issue I spoke about on the last tour.
The automatic qualification that comes with it.
Like when you told someone you were 5 and they marveled at how smart or big you were for your age.
That felt OK tho.
Because they were congratulating you for doing things you'd never done before.
Eating solid food.
Learning your ABCs.
Learning to read... and on and on.
But, when you're older it's the patronizing congratulations you get for absolutely nothing that irks me.
For still being able to walk, eat solid foods, remember your ABCs, see well enough to read...and on and on.
Have you even been to Seaworld or one of those aquatic themeparks where they have trained killer whales (what a strange phrase) and the trainer rides on the animal's back, a few times around the tank?
What actually happens there?
Is it a feat of dexterity?
He or she could have been straddling a giant, wet tire.
So...what did happen?
But, in this case, that's good.
Because it means the trainer lives.
More accurately, he doesn't die.
And everyone whoops and cheers.
He sits relatively comfortably, waving to the crowd.
The 'tire' has learned thru repetition that a couple times around the tank and it's big bucket of fish time.
So, the trainer doesn't die.
And that's the act. Ta-da!!!
Experiment: Try not feeding Shamu for awhile...
Did you see 'Benjamin Button'?
It could have been cut by about 30-40 minutes, but there were some things I really liked about the film - especially the story.
Life in reverse.
That's how it should be.
We're born as tiny, weak, fragile things that need a lot of care and attention.
Not so different from how it is.
But, as we grow in size, we find we also become more intelligent, stronger, sharper, more focussed, agile and able to confidently act on our ideas and principals.
Instead of the way it usually is - by the time you know what you need to know and are as good as you'll ever be at what you do, you're perceived as too old to be relevant.
In 'Button' world, we'd get younger and younger, forgetting what came before, becoming less responsible for ourselves, just as we do old adults, only we'd be cute and cuddly and smell like babies and folks would be more inclined to want to nurture and care for us until we went back to sleep forever.
Yeah, the movie was too long.
So...it's almost 1AM.
Guess I'll try and it wind down now.
It's always easier in a hotel because it's sooooooooooooooo boring.
Maybe I'll listen to the rehearsal tapes again.
Is that relaxing?
|NEW ALBUM BLOG (DAY 220.127.116.11)||
22/06/09 at 10:39 PM
|The first day of recording is usually little slow in starting because everything has to be mic'd up, with sounds and relative headphone balances gotten before anything is played for keeps.
We're looking to record 15 songs in the 4 days alloted for basic tracks.
We did 4 today.
I guess I could start listing song titles.
Some you might know, others I'm sure you won't.
We started off the day with This Guitar.
Very interesting sounding track.
Creates a nice environment to tell that story.
"This guitar has had it rough, yes, it's seen it's better days
Had it's share of ups and downs, I'm amazed that it still plays
Guess it don't know when to quit, tho it never gets too far
It's just stubborn...this guitar"
Not exactly what I heard in my head when I wrote it or played it alone.
But, very cool and all the better for getting it outside of my head.
There is such a thing as getting too inside these songs, which, I suppose, you have to do to write them.
But, once you have creative, intuitive players demonstrating to you what your song suggests to them, it's fantastic.
More than you could have ever dreamed alone.
The plight of the only child.
Having had already been there for a few hours, setting up, etc, we took a brief lunch break before carrying on
The second tune we did was I'm Impressed With Myself.
"I'm impressed with myself 'cause she loves me
Yes, I must be a hell of a guy
She's cute, she's cool, she's nobody's fool
But she melts when I catch her eye
I don't know what I've got but she likes it
I'm not gonna analyze it to death
She makes me feel like a really big deal
And man, I'm impressed with myself"
Lovely Hammond organ on this track by Richard Milner.
He's such a spontaneous, surprising player.
Paul Beevis is the saving grace of these sessions.
The drummer is always critical.
If that particular component is wrong I'm ready to pack up and go home almost immediately, but I could tell right away, at the first rehearsal, that the groove was in much more than capable hands.
Paul makes everything feel so good.
All I can say is PHEEE-EEWWW!
The third track done was The Sound Of A Train.
Not a brand new song, but one that I haven't really dragged out much.
Written as an antidote to every romantic train song that ever rumbled down the track.
"The sound if a train, it blows right thru me like a bitter winter wind
And I swear that love won't do me wrong again
The sound of a train, so soft and lonesome, like a songbird in the rain
Makes me long for the one I love...
How I hate the sound of a train"
Might have played it somewhere, once or twice, but, if so, I couldn't tell you where right now.
Maybe a club in Nashville?
As I've said, the songs on this album were composed over a long period of time.
Some more recent (still finishing the lyrics to one), while some I've been waiting, hoping for an opportunity/excuse to record for goodness knows how long.
I played Pete Brown alot of stuff on our first sitdown, without much qualification or back story and let him choose what he liked.
I figured as long as we were dressing me out of my closet, chances are I'd be happy with how I look in the end.
The last song of the day was a new one titled Call Me.
This turns out to be the surprise of the whole album for me.
I wasn't sure it was finished. I had alot of words I liked but it didn't seem complete somehow until Pete suggested we add some bars of rhythm in between the verses and BANG!
Mike Nichols plays a bubbly West African bassline on this track that propels it along happilly and effortlessly.
It's a song about, well, just what the title says.
"If you're ever feeling wide awake and restless in the middle of the night...call me
The hour doesn't matter, you could never be a bother, and I don't do too much sleeping anyway
If you're stuck in traffic and you're late for your appointment, take a breath...call me
I just like to hear your voice, it always cheers me up and I don't mind if you have nothing much to say
Let me say a couple words here about my production partner here.
Pete has been invaluable as a sounding board, song-screener, in assembling the players (including a few horn players that will be in later in the week), finding the right studios, rehearsing the band, getting everyone CD copies of those rehearsals and so much more.
Pete is also engineering the sessions and will contribute all manner of things with strings before it's all over.
A great asset to this project.
We're back in at 10AM tomorrow and should be running something by about half 10 or so, after 'good mornings' and cups of tea.
It's a brisk 20-30 minute walk from my hotel to the studio and, now that I know where I am (Camden Town), that's exactly what I'll do.
Walk briskly and wake my silly ass up on the way.
Supposed to be nice weather all week, I hear.
Just in time to get a 'studio tan'.
Ah, but a small price to pay, if you ask me.
All in all, a very encouraging, exciting day.
And, it tickles me no end to know that the songs will sound just like this when we do them 'live', next year.
Did I say PHHHEEE-EEEEWWW?
Well, then let me add YIP-F8CKING-EEEEE!!!
More as it unfolds, folks.
All lyrics © Dennis Locorriere ~
23/06/09 at 10:17 PM
|Walked to the studio from the hotel. Maybe 2 miles.
All uphill, as I slowly discovered.
Was on my phone when I reached my destination and strolled (well, marched is more like it. I don't tend to saunter or stroll very much) right by the front gates.
Added about 10 more sharply inclining minutes to my trek.
Walking back down the hill a bit wasn't any better at that point.
Anyway, arrived at the studio on time anyway, thanks to my brisk pace and long strides.
We got rolling about 10:45 with Don't Seem Right.
Nice to have it recorded at last, after seeing it's 'debut' quite awhile ago on the Alone With...DVD.
'Hey, old friend, so what do you say
Do you think we can make it thru another day
It hasn't been easy, better hold on tight
These things don't work themselves out overnight
Have you made your mind up?
Am I gonna wind up sad...so sad?
Can't we both be patient, put a little faith in what we had?
If I had to gamble on one thing I would put my money on love
Because it's such a shame and it don't seem right somehow
To come this far together and give up now'
The guys did such a lovely job on this track.
Grabbed it pretty early. Maybe second time thru.
That's when it's the best.
When everyone is just listening to each other and playing, rather than thinking too much.
We moved on to Different Faces next.
This is a song that I wrote and started playing in concert right away.
I was kind of surprised at all the wonderful comments I got about it.
I ended the show with it, if I remember correctly.
A pretty ballsy thing to do with a new song, some might say, but the lyric is very true to who I am and how I feel and I trusted it would come across that way.
'To anyone I've ever hurt, I'd like to say I'm sorry
If I made you cry or feel like dirt
If I caused you doubt or worry
There are no excuses I can give
Your compassion holds my fate
We learn these lessons as we live
Sometimes a little too late...'
Very nice track with alot of open space in it.
Serves the lyric perfectly.
Ran thru Ask Her a time or two and realized the canteen was going to close in a short while, so we held that thought and broke for lunch.
Came back and nailed it quickly.
A jaunty affair.
Playful and dark all at the same time.
Like the song, I guess.
When I first wrote it I couldn't wait to get to play it for an audience.
Another one that I trusted would make it's point right away.
'I'm a monster, a heartless bastard
Don't consider anybody's feelings but my own
I'm not worth knowing, nevermind loving
I deserve to be unhappy and alone
Cause I'm a taker, I'm a user
Anyone who likes me is a loser
I'm a waste of the air I breathe
A first class jackass
That's the story, take my word for it
Or go straight to the source if you prefer
Fourth song we did was She Don't Care.
Kind of a jazzy, shuffly little thing.
'Does she worry when they whisper as she walks by?
Is she nervous when they stop and stare?
Does she wonder who's believing all their dirty little lies?
Oh no, she don't care...
Will she stay home from a party 'cause she broke her fingernail?
Say she just can't do a thing about her hair?
No, she'll turn up resplendent in her gloves and ponytail
Cause that girl, she don't care...'
The band really seems to enjoy the songs we're doing.
It's a nice validation coming from such great players.
The fifth and final song was Crashing Down.
I have done this song 'live' only a couple of times and probably nowhere that many folks would have heard it.
Has always been an important song to me.
I posted the entire lyric on the blog several weeks ago, before I even knew we were going to record it.
Pete really liked it and suggested an interesting way to do it.
A radical departure from the way I wrote it, actually.
But he was so right.
The song is so much stronger as we did it today.
So, another five songs done today.
We have five more to do together...
and one other one that Pete thinks I should do 'on me tod'.
Hell, might as well have one 'only child' endeavor on the next album, huh?
Back at it in the A.M.
Yeah, I'll walk again, becuse that's the kinda guy I am.
It'll probably seem like a quick sprint without the extra bit I did today.
All lyrics © Dennis Locorriere ~
25/06/09 at 01:40 AM
|JUNE 24TH 2009...
The alarm on my phone didn't go off this morning!
I'd set it for 8. I woke up at 7 and thought 'OK, one more hour'.
Fortunately, I don't sleep very soundly when I'm in hotels or when I'm working on something full on...or ever, actually!
I lay there, half in and half out of consciousness, until something in my brain said 'Hey! That's a pretty long f8cking hour, innit???'
Looked at the digital TV clock and it said 8:53.
Got up, called John, told him to let everyone know I would not be there on time at 10.
Not a disaster because there were things they could do without me, like overdubs and a few bits and pieces, here and there.
I don't have many cosmetic concerns in the morning, so I was up, showered, dressed and in a cab in no time.
Made it to the studio only 15 minutes past schedule.
We started the day with a new song called You, Yourself and I.
I know the title isn't grammatically correct, but I don't care.
It's a jumble of 'you and I' and the expression 'my, myself and I'.
A nice waltzy feel with a bit of an edge.
'You censor yourself whenever we're talking
There's always a couple of things that you simply don't say
And I fill in the blanks wherever I need to
'Cause I believe in long run it's better that way
Then I can be sure and just hear what I wanna hear
And, these days, that's OK with me
And you can be careful to keep what you wanna keep
Safe, under shackle and key
And say nothing, eloquently...'
I was playing what I had written of this song at a soundcheck last Fall and, when I was thru, my son shouted up to me 'Dad, what was that?'
I told him it was something I was working on.
His response was (and I quote) 'Thank f8ck for that! I was just thinking what a great song it was and was hoping it was one of yours'.
So, I played what I had for Pete and he loved it too.
The second song was Sinking Ship.
Never recorded, this song has been resurrected from the dead because Pete loved it.
I played this song with Hook on the tour after Sawyer left.
The one before The (One and Only) Farewell Tour.
'Sinking ship...we're about as buoyant as a sinking ship
Abandon all your valuables, your heart and your pride
And roll with the tide til someone hears the cries of our sinking ship
Nothing's gonna save her, it's her final trip
So let's get on the radio and signal our distress
Let's send an SOS
Say we never saw the iceberg, just the tip
But we hit it hard and it tore this hole in me and you
Now we're sinking fast and there is nothing we can do
We don't even have each other now, to hold on to
But I'm not blaming you
For our sinking ship...'
Proud to see the old girl sailing again.
Number three was Dance On Daddy's Feet.
This song, written with LeRoy Preston, has become a real concert favorite over the years tho it will only be seeing it's recorded debut on the new album.
I love what we've done with it.
Fresh, but without losing the essence of the song that so many people seem to love.
'She gets home after six
Too beat to even fix and bite to eat
She pours a glass of wine
And tries to ease her mind and rest her tired feet
She glances thru her mail
A few bills, a sweater sale
Too many of her days seem to end this way
What ever happened to running home after school?
The laughter in her eyes, the color in her cheeks
Back when she knew for sure, she'd burst right thru the door
To be lifted off the floor to dance on daddy's feet...'
Took me long enough but there it is.
Standing As Tall As I Can was the next song up.
Composed with Michael Snow, another name that should be familiar to you if you've been following my work.
A very strong track.
'Don't cry with me, don't cry for me, just ignore me, and I'll be fine
I don't need pity, I don't need sympathy, don't need another sermon
I just need time
From where I'm standing things could be much better
But, on the other hand, I've seen whole lot worse
I have had my share of trouble
But I ain't no superman
I'm just standing as tall as I can...'
Brooding, serious and, like I said, very strong.
Last up was Deeper Than Sleep.
Snow co-write again.
The song was written as a pretty dark little piece but Pete wonderd what it would sound like with a bright 60s pop feel...so we gave it a shot!
I'm gonna have to live with it awhile, but it's already grown on me alot.
'If she's got something to say she'll cut straight to the chase
She ain't no fancy dancer
And if you ask her a question
You better wanna know the answer
She's deeper than sleep
Sweeter than nectarine
Brighter than a laser beam
Stronger than steel
Her manner is sensual, her thinking unique
She's deeper than sleep...'
One more song to be recorded on my own.
More about that when it's done.
I cannot say enough about the level of musicianship on this album.
Pete, Paul, Rich and Mike have blown me away everyday.
And, they'll get to do it again everynight on the 2010 tour.
Rehearsals were great, but the very best things we got 'on tape' were not planned.
They just happened 'on the floor', as they say.
Lots of first and second takes are being used, musically and vocally.
We're back in tomorrow to start Pete's guitars, etc and a clarinet player is in at 11AM.
It's pushing 3AM now and my alarm goes off at 8 (I hope!).
Home tomorrow night.
More from there. ~
All lyrics © Dennis Locorriere, except where noted.
Dance On Daddy's Feet (Locorriere/Preston)
Standing As Tall As I Can and Deeper Than Sleep (Locorriere/Snow)
26/06/09 at 02:32 AM
|JUNE 25TH 2009...
Good day, tho different than the first three.
Just me, Pete, engineer, Nick (Cervorano), John Taylor and, later in the day, Adrian.
Pete started the day by adding a nice mandolin rhythm to Deeper Than Sleep.
Then, the most wonderful clarinetist, Julian Springle, came in just before 11AM.
By 12:15, he had given us so many great pieces of music to use.
Pete had absolutely raved about him all week, so I was expecting him to be excellent, but, once he started playing, I reckoned Pete had undersold him.
When he left it was finally Pete's turn to get to play the bits he'd been waiting all week to play.
He had been behind the glass, with his discerning ears trained on what the rest of us were playing.
Quite a marathon performance day for him today, but he rose to it, over and over, and we got some great stuff.
It was while we were working on Different Faces, of all songs, that we heard the news that Michael Jackson, a man of many different faces, had died.
It's very surreal, isn't it?
With a guy like Michael, you were always shocked by whatever you heard about him, but, the weirder it got the more you realized that nothing was really all that unbelievable.
Needless to say it's not gonna be hard to recall where I was the day he 'beat it'.
A great talent, overshadowed by a even greater freakshow of a life.
A real pity.
We're back at it, Monday thru Friday, next week.
Then, off at the weekend and back at it for another five days, beginning again on Monday.
Oh, I may be doing a bit of a left turn to take part in a 'special' show in Liverpool during the second week of July.
More details if there turn out to be any more.
OK, I'm home and I'm going to go take the liberty of being here.
So far, so good on the album.
Later, folks. ~
|NEW ALBUM, 2ND PHASE, ETC...||
29/06/09 at 12:28 AM
|It's after 1AM.
I leave for the studio in about 7 hours.
Fortunately, I'm still packed from last week.
Except for the exchange of a couple pairs of jeans and some clean shirts, everything else is right where it was when I got home, late Thursday night.
To tell you the truth, it was hard to settle at home, knowing that I was just going back again on Monday.
My head is filled with lyrics and guitar parts.
It's just about my turn now.
We recorded the basic tracks in London at George Martin's Air Studios, but the rest of the work will be done at a studio in Henley-on-Thames.
Should be a lovely setting, which is good since I hear we're in for the hottest week of the year so far.
At least a quick walk outside might be country refreshing rather than urban harrowing.
Well, as was totally expected, the MJ thing gets stranger and darker, as the fingers get pointed and the details ooze out.
Remember, Elvis was also getting ready for his big Vegas comeback and, due to his excessive weight and painkiller dependency, everyone was wondering if he'd be able to pull it off.
He never had the chance to find out.
Neither did Michael.
He's on the cover of the new Q magazine as the biggest come back in history.
Well, almost, huh?
Irony - all the records he has on the charts all over the world right now will certainly pay the overwhelming debt that we all heard so much about.
With Thriller, the best selling album of all time and ownership of The Beatles catalog of songs, how does that happen?
It's a strata most of us can't even begin to comprehend, folks.
Prediction - The Jacksons will tour in the relatively near future with brother Michael on the big screen hanging over the stage.
Bet on it.
Question - Has sister Janet said a word yet?
I haven't seen anything from or about her.
You know, nobody killed Elvis, but Elvis.
But nobody saved him either.
The studio work from here on in will mostly consist of guitar overdubs, vocals - lead and harmonies, bits and pieces and then, finally, the mixing.
Not always alot to report on but I'll let you know how it's looking and feeling as it takes shape.
I'll use this thread.
The album, if we're on schedule, should actually be finished before I'm out on the fall tour.
Of course, there's still the artwork, liner notes, photos (ugh!), cartoons (?) and blahblahblah to deal with before it's all over.
29/06/09 at 12:28 AM
|JUNE 29TH 2009...
The studio we're working in offers living accomodations as well, so, when we're done, I'm already 'home'.
And, in the A.M., I fall out of bed, take a shower and walk down the hall to work.
There's a lounge with a TV, CD/DVD player.
Kitchen (we bought groceries tonight).
All very homey.
We're also on the River Thames, but I've yet to walk down to it.
Nice change from hotel living anyway.
I mean if I absolutely have to be somewhere else other than where I live this is OK.
Only John and I are staying here so it's pretty quiet in the evenings.
Gonna be hot this week. You can feel it building.
Glad I remembered to bring my dressing room fan with me or I would not sleep very well at all.
The Henley Regatta starts on Wednesday and runs thru Sunday, so the area will be filthy with tourists (so says the uppity displaced Yank!).
I'll probably hightail it back to Sussex on Friday night and come back late Sunday night, go to bed (eventually) and get up on Monday, ready to get back to it.
Did some of this and some of that today.
A few acoustic guitar things.
Made some choices on what bits of electric guitar we want to use on a couple of songs.
All in preparation for the vocals, really.
I'll start some of that tomorrow.
All 15 songs will not be on the album.
Twelve, maybe thirteen, but the rest will surface somewhere.
I don't want to say what the title is yet.
Probably not until pretty close to the release date, actually.
I have some guitar strings to change and some lyrics to decide on for Call Me.
'Night all. ~
30/06/09 at 08:46 PM
|JUNE 30th 2009...
Got up, made tea, had a shower, went over some lyrics and a few guitar bits and Pete turned up.
Did some acoustic on Call Me, but didn't sing it today.
We went on to Different Faces.
Pete suggested a much nicer part than I'd originlly played, so I replaced it.
Funny, but after doing a song alone for some time it takes me a little while to figure out a simpler version to play with everyone else.
No 'only child' stuff going on here.
I did manage to get a very personal, conversational vocal on 'Faces'.
Years of singing 'live' and moving on to the next show/town/venue/audience has me nervous about the 'forever-ness' of these performances.
They have to stand the test of time.
I think I'll be fine in the end, but the thought is daunting.
Moving on to Ask Her in the morning.
Will probably tackle the vocal at some point in the day.
Can't get the satellite TV to work, so I have no idea if MJ is back or what.
I'm sure we have not seen the last of the circus tho.
Later, mi amigos. ~
30/06/09 at 10:46 PM
|A thought about 'the test of time' -
It may seem an obvious statement to make, but, truth be told, my only endeavors that have had any lasting power are the ones that people have gotten to hear.
There have been plennnnnnty of good ideas (if I didn't think they were good I wouldn't have wasted anyone's time, including my own) and noble efforts that quickly vanished into the mists of obscurity.
In fact, several songs that will be on the new album are ones that, over the years, I wrote, loved, played for awhile and, then, just sort of gave up on.
You have to put them away or you won't move forward and write more.
And, they didn't seem to be lighting up any professional faces in 'Music City' anyway and that was the water I was splashing around in.
Those opinions were my gauge of how I was doing.
I remember playing Sinking Ship for someone 'in the biz' and being looked at like, in the words of the late, GREAT Bill Hicks 'a dog that's been shown a card trick'.
But I never totally abandoned the songs.
Along with SS, I thought She Don't Care, Standing As Tall As I Can, Crashing Down, Sound Of A Train and Dance On Daddy's Feet, tho largely unproven, were some of the best things I'd written.
So what was I to do?
Just write more?
But, how could I be sure that the new things were any good, if I was already so wrong about the other songs I believed in?
It's very cool that Pete heard them all as 'new' songs and wanted to record them.
I guess, until people hear them, they are new songs.
And, to anyone up the road who has never heard 'em, same status.
I have concentrated for the past several years on 'live', mostly solo performance.
I've been afforded that luxury because you lovely folks have come back, time and time again, to see my shows.
As it turns out, I would not now, or maybe not ever, be confident enough to be doing a whole album of 'new' songs or even to have initially played them for Pete, had I not had you guys to try 'em out in front of, along the way.
See how that works?
Well, whether you do or not, just know you have a hand in making it all come together.
30/06/09 at 11:37 PM
|I've had a couple of people ask why we moved to another studio to continue the recording.
A few reasons -
We needed a bigger, (more expensive) studio in order to set up the whole band, giving each player in their own mic'd and padded sound area and to get some nice, rich room ambience on the instruments.
Now that we've arrived at this next phase and it's mostly just me and Pete, we don't need as much space to do vocals and overdubs.
The location of the first studio, in London, was better for the band, as most of them lived relatively close.
Pete, however, had quite a daily trek to London and back home, calling for long days and late nights.
Henley is a hop for him, so it gives him more time to work and less to have to negotiate in traffic.
As for me, I usually wind up staying away from home wherever we work.
May as well make it convenient and productive for all the others concerned.
So, a week or so in Camden Town, where I could take a walk around at night, after the sessions, and where I found a great sushi restaurant and, then, several more in Henley, where, because of the isolation and regatta-mania, we cook in and read till bedtime.
Hope that somewhat answers the questions about relocating to another studio because that's the best I can do.
It really all makes perfectly good sense. ~
01/07/09 at 10:49 PM
|JULY 1ST 2009 (Already?!?!?)...
Pete and I had another very productive day.
Began with Ask Her.
Decided on a clarinet part (???) and moved on to the lead vocal.
What we have here is like a little film.
They all are really.
Very cinematic, in my opinion.
Each song has it's own 'environment'.
A setting, specific to the character of the song.
Next was Call Me.
Have I mentioned that this one is the surprise of the album for me?
It didn't think it was finished when I played it for Pete.
Thought it needed more words, even tho there were lots already.
It just didn't seem long enough.
Pete suggested we put some rhythm spaces between verses and bingo!...whole song, great arrangement.
Got the vocal today.
We ended the day with You, Yourself and I.
Pete played some lovely, rolling acoustic guitar that really brought the groove alive.
John Taylor has been helping out with 2nd engineer duties.
He mans the desk whenever Pete plays an instrument.
JT has also been whipping up some smashing lunches, as we don't really have the time to get out or the inclination to deal with the regatta crowd.
Thai tuna curry today with rice. Yum!
Tomorrow morning we will start by listening to a mandola part for Y,Y and I - courtesy of PB again - and I'll make sure I'm satisfied with my vocal.
I did it 'live' while we recorded the track and most of it is pretty good, I think.
Moving right along, but we have a definite deadline.
We should be - have to be - fine.
Time to wind down now and read.
Still no satellite TV.
Something's amiss with the 'box', they say.
Can't say I hate being somewhat cut off for awhile tho.
Helps to focus.
More tomorrow, folks. ~
03/07/09 at 12:11 AM
|JULY 2ND 2009...
Started the day by adding a mandolin over the top of the mandola part Pete played yesterday on You, Yourself and I.
Went on to listening to the vocal on the same song.
I'd done one with the band on tracking day that we liked, so I fixed a couple of words that I'd missed and we were done.
Spent the rest of the day on Crashing Down.
First we put together the electric guitar parts we preferred.
Big, tough sounding chords in the choruses.
Then, we moved on to the vocal.
A hard song to sing over and over, but I still had to find some phrasing and melody so on I sang.
I had written the song as a folky little ballad but we've turned it into something much bigger and stronger.
I just have to keep an open mind on alot of this stuff and it pays off.
The day seemed to go quickly today.
Hot as hell outside and the studio got a little warm too, especially once I started singing.
Going home for a couple nights tomorrow.
Have to get organized for the Liverpool trip at the end of next week.
One of my songs has changed for the charity show because another artist asked to do the same one.
I like the one I'm doing instead even more.
So, one with the orchestra (string quartet, actually!) and one with the band, who I hear are smokin'.
But, that's a week away and I have plenty to think about before that.
04/07/09 at 10:55 AM
|JULY 3RD 2009...(posted on the 4th)
Got home late last night and decided the blog would have to wait til today.
Great day for me yesterday tho because I did two lead vocals that have been niggling at me for the last few weeks.
Crashing Down is an important song on the album and the band did a wonderful job on the track.
There are alot of dynamics to the song and I wanted the vocal to reflect the exact emotion I wrote into it.
Like I said to Pete, if a singer doesn't care about the words he may as well be playing saxaphone.
I had done a couple takes on Thursday, before we left, and it felt like I was singing it too hard, making the words sound angry, and, while there is an element of total frustration in it, anger is not really the main point.
It was a good feeling to know that I had a track that served the song so well and that, now, there's a vocal that I thinks works perfectly with it.
The other song I sang yesterday was Dance On Daddy's Feet - another major track on the album, if for no other reason that it's taken me all this time to finally record the song, which has become a concert favorite over the last few years.
Ther arrangement we did for it is a bit different than I've been playing alone, taking advantage of all the color and rhythm the band could provide.
I think the most important thing we added was 'the dance'.
It just needed the right narration over it.
As I said, even tho I have sung this song 'live' many, many times, the record has to last forever.
Some would raise the issue that a concert is forever too, in the minds and hearts of the people in the audience (as is illustrated by the 'best concert ever' thread on this GB).
But there are so many other peripheral and extraneous elements that make a concert memorable.
A recording is what it is.
Played on good days, bad days, at parties, in cars, possibly even on the radio.
It has to create it's own portable environment.
I hope the band, and I, thru the vocal, have done just that.
John Taylor has been absolutely fabulous during the sessions.
I told you all the other day that he's been cooking (he said yesterday that he can do sushi! Boy! do I have the right guy in JT or what???), as well as second engineering when Pete needs an extra set of hands and brain, not forgetting all the solid managerial duties he normally does every day.
Some recent examples are making sure all is cool with the Liverpool charity show next weekend, planning, assembling the Fall tour poster for me to approve, rolling forward with the Spring tour plans, working on the fall tour brochure, which we're hoping will be a sort of a 'best of' my career up to now, making way for the new album and tour in 2010.
I'm providing cartoons, etc, which I've been able to do some of while in the studio.
There's always lots of sitting around time, even when work is being done.
Speaking of that, I'm going to go out for a walk in a bit!
That's the one thing I've missed since the recording began.
Back to work on Monday, right up to Friday, when we leave for Merseyside and BEATLES DAY.
A thought on MJ:
I must admit that I've been pretty cynical about alot of what I've seen and heard after his passing, like 'grief-stricken' brother Jermaine working the Jackson 5 reunion already and daddy Joe touting his record label for instance, but seeing that 90 seconds of his last rehearsal, shot less than 48 hours before he died, has made me really sad and wishing he was still alive and facing the opportunity to show everyone what he was made of, professionally-speaking anyway.
He looked (to me) like he was going to be able to pull it off and make what they were calling the 'biggest comeback in history'.
I expected him to look like he could hardly move or get thru a song. Figured he was in such bad shape that maybe his demise was 'for the best'.
But that's not how it appeared in that rehearsal footage.
So what happened?
Whatever it was and by whoever's hand it occurred (even his own), it robbed the world and poor Michael of something special.
Now I hear them saying that enough footage was shot of the rehearsals to release a DVD!
Put that together with the Jacksons on stage with their late lead vocalist on the big screen (it's coming - trust me) and, well, I guess you still have your comeback event.
Tickets, records and DVDs sold, debts paid, folks get richer.
And only poor Michael will not benefit.
Took me a couple weeks for it to register but that 90 second clip did it for me.
More on the recording Monday evening. ~
06/07/09 at 09:43 AM
|One day, during the rehearsals for ' The Devil and Billy Markham' in NYC, I was complaining to Shel about my standing in Nashville.
How they didn't get me or didn't even want to.
They just thought I should do that country album.
Everyone reckoned they had a song that was 'perfect' for my voice.
No one really gave a shit that I was writing.
Shel's response was, 'Well Den, it's like you make great woolen overcoats, but you keep trying to sell 'em in Key West, Florida.'
And he was right!
It took me a while after that to figure out where on the planet I should be (tho I always had a strong feeling about where I'd end up).
Since my move to the UK, I know I'm in the right place.
Back to the overcoat factory!!!
07/07/09 at 12:33 AM
|JULY 6TH 2009...
I got back here last night so I wouldn't have to travel out early this morning.
Nice to be recording in a place that could accomodate that decision.
Spent the day working on This Guitar.
I played some.
Guitar, that is.
Then I did my vocal and Pete put in a groovy little mandolin part.
Tomorrow we will work a bit on Dance On Daddy's Feet in the A.M.
Phil Capaldi arrives around 1PM and he and Pete (and maybe I) will look for harmonies, here and there, on various songs, like She Don't Care, Daddy's Feet, You, Yourself and I, This Guitar and a few others.
Phil is a great singer and a lovely guy.
Should be a nice day and cool to have someone else in there with us for a change.
I usually ended up stacking all the parts myself on my other albums but this time I'd like to hear other voices doing them.
It will add another character to the album.
Lots of stuff to do this week before I go to Liverpool.
Yoiks! My head is so full of songs, but I guess I'll have to squeeze a couple Beatles tunes in there as well.
For a short while anyway.
Oh well...it could be worse.
I could be a doing Barry Manilow Day show and having to learn Copacabana.
Yeah, uh huh...as if I would have done that gig!
'Night all. ~
08/07/09 at 01:40 AM
|JULY 7TH 2009...
Worked later than usual tonight.
Mr Capaldi was in and there were lots of things we wanted to try him on, from harmonies to percussion.
Phil did a great job!
Everything we were hoping for was realized.
We now have some killer harmonies on Call Me and She Don't Care that Phil, Pete and I did.
The two of them laid some nice parts down for Dance On Daddy's Feet and You, Yourself and I and Phil did some single line stuff in Ask Her.
His percussion really added alot to the rhythm tracks of Call Me, I'm Impressed With Myself and This Guitar.
A very productive day and good fun.
Phil has a great sense of humor and brought an all around good vibe to the session.
He may come back, depending on what else we discover we need.
There's lots of singing for me to do tomorrow, I think.
I have to leave before I'd like to on Thursday, in order to get home, pack and leave for Liverpool early on Friday.
Didn't see any of the MJ tribute, except for a brief clip of his daughter, crying.
One could have guessed his children would be sad, huh?
Michael was a poor soul.
It bothers me greatly that we all saw fit to love him or hate him, depending on what the media told us.
He was our amazingly talented, shockingly freakazoid, little emotional pin-cushion.
Most of them say it's OK to love him again now.
And now I hear that the kid who accused him of abuse - the case that was settled out of court - has said his father put him up to it.
Isn't that a serious criminal offense?
At least for the father, even if the child was a minor and coerced by his parent?
So, let's tally up...
Top of the charts?
Free from debt?
Exonerated from any wrong doing?
Loved by millions and millions?
Michael was a poor f8cking soul.
It's 2:45AM now.
09/07/09 at 12:03 AM
|JULY 8TH 2009...
I completed three lead vocals today - She Don't Care, Sound Of A Train and I'm Impressed With Myself.
SDC and Train are the vocals I did when we cut the tracks, with a few swallowed words and missed words corrected.
It's nice to be able to use some of the takes we did 'live'.
Adds so much to the overall feel of the piece.
Talking to Pete, we agree that it's going to be difficult to choose what to leave off the album.
Looking for 13 songs on the album, but everything we record should see a release of some sort, even if it's an ITunes 'bonus' track or an extra track on a single.
Still have lots to do.
Harmonies on Impressed in the A.M.
Just Pete and I will do them.
Good guy to work with is Pete.
We get on great and I like the way he thinks about music and performance.
He'll get to start mixing a few things in my absence on Friday.
It will be a new experience for me to walk in and get to hear something with fresh ears.
Pete said it will help him too because he can get so close to it all that it will benefit him to hear my gut reaction to what he's done.
Have not had that opportunity since the Hook days when I'd do my vocals and go back on the road, only to hear later that our producer/musical director (grrrrrrrrrrrrrr!) had loaded up the track with flutes and female background vocals.
Usually too late by that time.
Nice not to have to live with someone else's decisions on major issues, especially when they are so far from the way you would have done things yourself.
I think this album will be much to my liking.
Just found out that Herbie Flowers (look him up!) will be in next Tuesday to play tuba on Ask Her.
Pete thinks it will be da bomb!
I trust him.
Home tomorrow night to grab some clean clothes and my Beatle boots for the trip to Liverpool for Friday night's show.
Back at the overcoat shop on Monday. ~
09/07/09 at 11:29 PM
|Haven't been home long.
Organized some clothes for tomorrow night's extravanganza.
Leaving at 9AM of what will prove, I'm sure, to be a pretty long day.
S&C are coming up with us.
They said they didn't wanna miss it.
We'll arrive in Liverpool early afternoon and go directly to the Arena, where I'll run thru my two songs (for the first and possibly only times) with the band and orchestra.
Right now I have all my album tunes spinning round in my melon.
Gotta put them aside and get The Beatles in there quick!
But, truthfully, they're always in there somewhere.
Ok, well, about Thursday's recording.
Began by putting some very Beatle-y harmonies, appropriately enough, in I'm Impressed With Myself, to go with the 'Abbey Road' guitar..
Actually, Pete did all the parts (and the gtr), except for a little high line from yours truly, that you really can 'feel' more than hear (thank goodness!).
The end result sounds absolutely wonderful!
It was then time for another great lunch - spicy veggies and rice today - whipped up by JT, jack-of-all-trades.
Afterwards, we went on to the vocal of Don't Seem Right.
The track is very minimal, yet has this great underlying pulse to it that gives the vocal a slight R&B edge.
Took awhile to get the right balance of tenderness and frustration.
Always worth taking the time on something that has to last forever.
I think I liked what I eventually got.
I was hoping to leave the studio a bit earlier as to not get home too late, but we found ourselves in the middle of that vocal so we hung in til it was right.
Hope I still like it when I hear it on Monday.
Pete loved it and he may very well be a better judge of what I do than I am, at this point.
Very cool and helpful to have an opinion that I know isn't colored by personal agenda and ego.
Saturday and Sunday off and back in traffic, headed for Henley on Monday morn.
I'll have been a Beatle by then.
Guess I'll have to address it in this running commentary, won't I?
13/07/09 at 10:55 PM
|Following a long, tiring weekend, today pretty much stayed in keeping.
Got to bed about 3:30AM and was up at 5.
On the road a little after 6.
The idea was to make it back to the studio by 10AM - our usual start time.
Had we left any later, the M25 would have turned into a parking lot and I wouldn't have been here til noon.
Unacceptable, after missing a whole day on Friday.
Not that Pete didn't put the time to good use.
He comped a few guitar parts and set up a bunch of computer stuff (don't ask me!) that he will need for mixing, once we've finished all the overdubs and vocals.
We reckon we should have all of those completed by the end of this week, with any luck and talent.
Arrived about 9:30 (it was either gonna be early or late) and set up my laptop while I waited for Pete to show up.
When he did, he played me a mix he'd started on Friday of Don't Seem Right.
Pretty cool, overall, but I had a few comments and suggestions.
We decided to move on past that for the moment tho and work on Standing As Tall As I Can.
I replaced the acoustic guitar that I'd played when we did the track with a simpler, more open, fingerpicking line.
I've learned that once I get used to playing these songs alone, whether on a stage or just at home, it takes me a while to figure out all the things I don't need to play when I'm working with the band.
I mean 'live', I am the band!
But my playing has to be simplified to interweave with everyone else.
Just a part of the whole.
A foreign concept to the professional only child.
The less complex line worked wonders in the choruses.
Next was my vocal.
I usually like to sing it a few times, listen to them, see what we have, pick the best lines, put it together and, then, go in and try to beat it.
This way I eventually hit on the perfect approach for each song.
By giving myself the opportunity to try lots of different things and listening to back to them.
And, just by singing it until I think it's got the right shape to tell the story.
Once we had the lead vocal right Pete suggested I try a harmony with myself in the choruses.
On my first two solo albums I did practically all the harmonies, as with many of the Hook recordings, like Sharing The Night, A Little Bit More, More Like The Movies, as just a few examples.
But, on the new one I'm accompanied by Pete and Phil Capaldi.
We did some three part ooohs and aaahs, here and there, thruout the album, but all the single line stuff was done by one of them.
The choruses of Standing...work with me doing my own because it's more like the instruction John Hiatt gave me when I sang on one of his albums - not so much like singing a 'harmony' as it is catching the same attitude as the lead voice, only higher.
It does sound pretty strong.
Another song done and ready to mix.
Sinking Ship is the last of the album songs we have to finish.
Pete put a lovely rolling ukelele in it today and made some decisions on his electric guitar.
All that's let is my accoustic and the vocal, which we will probably get stuck into tomorrow.
But, before we do Herbie Flowers will be in (at noon) to put a tuba on Ask Her.
Pete says that the tune doesn't need a tuba on it.
It needs a Herbie Flowers tuba on it!
So, he'll come, we'll do.
When we accomplished that, we'll get back to Sinking Ship.
OK. That's it from me for now.
I'm t-i-r-e-d. ~
15/07/09 at 12:06 AM
|JULY 14TH 2009...
Began the day by replaying my acoustic guitar in Sinking Ship.
It needed more of a rolling feel than I'd originally done with the band when we cut the track.
Funny, but when you do 'scratch' vocals you do whatever it takes to make the music swing and swell and move in all the right places, tho, later on, you might have to get a bit more specific and, dare I say it, technical (tho, in my case, there's no danger of me ever becoming too much so) in what you play and sing.
I was about to track (double) my guitar when the legendary Herbie Flowers (really...look him up!) and his tuba showed, so we put that aside and put up Ask Her.
I'd met him once, a long time ago, at the Pebble Mill at One tv program in Birmingham.
I'm so pleased to have him on the album.
We were lucky to get him.
He's such a busy guy, having just finished a whole lot of dates around the planet, playing bass guitar on the War Of The Worlds extravaganza.
Herbie added so much to my nasty little song.
His tuba and Julian Springle's clarinet are like supporting characters rather than just instruments, in this case.
We wished we had more for Mr Flowers to play on because he's such a lovely person to have around, but, he did his usual brilliant job and took his leave.
This left Pete, John and myself squarely in the middle of lunchtime.
John had whipped up (I make it sound easy, don't I?) a great vegetable curry - you may have guessed by now that JT is a vegetarian).
After lunch, we went back in and I double that acoustic on SS.
Then, it was time to sing it.
Altho I wrote this song many (many) years ago, the way we cut it made me have to rethink how I was going to sing it.
Not a bad thing.
I gave it a few passes and we listened to them, deciding what we could keep and what needed redoing.
At the end of the day, when Pete and I were both pretty much braindead, we stopped, figuring we'll come back in the A.M. and nail the rest of what we need.
Besides a harmony here and there (either me or Pete), this will be another song ready to mix.
Taking a look at where we are, I discovered that we're awfully close to having all the components complete.
A lead guitar and vocal on Deeper Than Sleep, some mandolin and harmonies on Dance On Daddy's Feet, various bits and pieces and it's MIXTIME!!!
15/07/09 at 10:24 PM
|We struck Sinking Ship off the 'to be finished' list after I completed the lead vocal and Pete added a really nice harmony in the second chorus.
It's taken me decades to get that song recorded and I'm very pleased with the final result.
We were about to move on to the mandolin and vocal harmony on Dance On Daddy's Feet, but decided that This Guitar could use some blues-y harmonies in the second half.
Pete and I put 'em in, listened back, agreed that they were right for the song and ticked another song off the TBF list.
Phil Capaldi had already given us a sweet high harmony on Daddy's Feet and we still needed a part under the melody.
Pete has proven to be the perfect voice for quite a few parts and this was no exception.
Daddy's Feet is an important song on this album because it's been played 'live' for so long and I already know that folks like it.
It had to be right.
We rolled on to Deeper Than Sleep, the last song we have to work on before mixing begins on everything.
I started making my way thru finding the shape of the vocal, but, after a while, you can get a bit oversaturated with words and music, making it difficult to tell what's working or not.
With fresh ears, in the A.M, I'll be able to finish the lead vocal, leaving only Pete's electric guitar and the chorus harmonies to be done. before we can check that song off the TBF list too.
We made an executive decision at the beginning of this week to exclude the solo number I was going to do for the album.
Pete originally said that he thought I should do something alone, since my audience has come to expect and enjoy that aspect of what I do, but, as we got more and more into it, I told Pete that I couldn't imagine leaving any of the wonderful music we've recorded off the album.
Everyone has had plenty of the only child side of me.
It's time for this now.
So, as it stands, we've cut 14 songs, and there will be 13 on the album with one 'extra' track for ITunes or whatever.
The solo thing might still get done, but, at this stage, it's not a priority.
Hard to believe we've done so much in the past few weeks, but we have...and it sounds wonderful to me.
And that's with no eqs or effects or compression or, well, anything.
It's a good sign when the stuff sounds so complete at this stage in the game.
16/07/09 at 11:39 PM
|I must say that Pete was way ahead of me as far as how he thought Deeper Than Sleep is supposed to sound.
I always liked what the song said but never really thought the original demo brought out the best in the lyric.
It's a very upbeat, positive description of a female but that first recording was dark...and deep, like the title says.
As soon as Pete heard it he said 'Oh, like Creedence. Ringing guitars, straight ahead, happy 4/4 groove...'
I couldn't picture it, but, like he did with Crashing Down, Pete's idea stopped me cold and made me rethink the song.
I struggled with the vocal phrasing for longer than I care to admit today and wasn't really sure about it when we decided to move on to the chorus harmonies.
Pete put in a part above my lead and, then, added one above that (good singer, that Pete!) and I laid in a part under my melody.
It was sometime this evening when Pete has been saying all along really hit me and we have done it exactly like he heard it.
By the time we had all the vocals finished it was 7PM.
Pete set up his electric guitar and started looking for a cool sound.
Just about the time it sounded like he was close, we were both burnt to a crisp.
So, tomorrow morning the gtr will go in DTS and we'll 'officially' be done with the overdubs and ready to mix.
By the way, the lead vocal I wasn't sure about sounds really good to me now that I'm used to this new approach to the tune.
I'm going to disappear for a couple days and let Pete put together a few songs like he hears them.
Then, I'll come in, listen, make whatever objective (and hopefully helpful) comments I have and disappear again.
Pete thinks this is a good way to do it and I totally agree.
I'm, uncharacteristically, gonna take a bit of a break, beginning next weekend.
Probably won't be online much during that time.
Maybe not at all.
Will be back with a couple of weeks to spare before the August shows.
I have been asked a few times now if the 'pre-tour' shows are 'rehearsals'.
That makes me chuckle.
I'll be trying out a new guitar and a few new songs, etc, before the actual tour begins, but you know the show won't be half-hearted.
I won't be reading the words or have my hair up in rollers.
I haven't played 'live' since last fall and don't want to jump out there totally cold, so I thought a few summer shows (should have called 'em that - less confusing!) would be in order.
OK. That's it from me for now.
I guess I won't be doing a daily blog after tomorrow night because it will be Pete's baby for awhile.
I'll report back on how blown away I am by his mixes.
17/07/09 at 02:48 PM
|There is really no reason to wait til tonight to post this last installment on the second phase of the album production.
Packing my stuff and going home tonight.
I'll leave it to Pete to make the album sound the way he hears it sounding.
I'll check back in for a day or so next week to listen to what he's done.
But, I liked what Pete said he heard the first time we got together to talk about doing this.
He has great ears and is extremely musical.
The wonderful thing is that I love what the band played and everything we've added since and Pete has been on top of every aspect of it so there shouldn't be many, if any, surprises once he's into it.
I'm confident it can only sound more fantastic when he's thru.
Mixing is a complex and crucial thing.
So many little things to attend to before the whole sounds perfect.
It takes care and lots of patience.
For instance, in the last 30 minutes, while I've been packing and typing, Pete has been listening to only the drums, one piece at a time, and making sure each component has it's own sound and space.
This attention to detail makes or breaks the album.
Pete is absolutely brilliant at this stuff.
I'm not worried at all.
My album could not be in better hands.
As a matter of fact, I can't wait to hear it!
I'll be around, here and there, for the next week and, then, not.
Hope this bloggityblogblog has been informative, entertaining and enlightening.
The next one will most likely be during the fall solo tour.
Until then, see you on the GB! ~
21/07/09 at 04:04 PM
|I said I would report and tell you how the mixing was going and how wonderful everything sounds.
As it turns out, I'm not going to hear even a single note til after I get back.
Pete has had a particular sonic concept since we first discussed the possibility of working together.
I just want him to work at his own pace and do the entire album the way he hears it, without my comments or suggestions.
John Taylor is in the studio as a sounding board and an extra pair of ears.
As it stands, the band played everything beautifully and expressively.
The overdubs - mandolin, mandola, guitars, clarinet, ukeleles tuba, bowed basses, electric and acoustic guitars and various percussion (I may have forgotten something!), are exactly what we want them to be and Pete and I are happy with the vocals, lead and harmony.
I 'm lucky and thankful to have the opportunity to swan in and hear it all for the first time.
I just got off the phone with JT, who says it's going really well and things are sounding great!
I can't imagine I won't be thrilled.
What a kick it will be to play this music 'live' with the same guys who recorded it!!!
23/07/09 at 10:56 AM
|Spoke to JT.
The mixing is going really well and everything sounds fabulous!
Standing As Tall As I Can and I'm Impressed With Myself were completed on Friday and Monday.
They had just finished The Sound Of A Train yesterday and were moving on to Call Me.
But, it's better that I wait and hear it all.
Pete plays, sings, arranges, engineers and knows his way around a studio better than anyone I've ever met.
There is absolutely no contest between him and anyone else I've worked with.
OK, I'm off tomorrow.
Might check in, might not.
Enjoy the summer, if that is, indeed, what this is.
09/08/09 at 12:06 AM
|I listened to the album tracks.
My first impression is a very good one.
I hear a few things that can be tweaked, here and there.
A vocal line, a mandolin, a harmony part.
But, it's all there and, with one more twiddle, we will be right on it!
You have to reach a point where you're happy with it.
Keeping in mind that people are going to hear this music coming thru many different types of systems, from mega-audiophile rigs to IPhones and everything in between, all I could do is listen to it on what I listen to everything on - nothing too fancy and never too loud - and see what I heard.
Pete is away on holiday.
Here's hoping he's somewhere nice, listening to the wind and the waves, resting his earholes.
When he gets back, the studio will be visited once again, and, this time, we should leave the premises with THE NEW ALBUM in hand.
The sequencing of the songs comes next.
It's so important.
You can kill a bunch of good songs by putting them in the wrong order.
(Not like a show, where you can move the pace and thread songs together by what you say and do.)
I have a few sequencing ideas, as do Pete and, I'm sure, John.
By instinct and coincidence, I think we're already in agreement about the first and last songs.
So, we're close, folks!
I'll let you know...
|NEW ALBUM RE-MIX||
26/08/09 at 12:40 AM
|Back in Henley
Started the remixes today.
Pete was pretty damned close with his first attempt.
You usually have to get everything to a point where you like it, but still know it can be better.
That's where we are now.
With today's technology the computer remembers what you do so you can always return to it and back again without losing any of it.
Some of these remixes are nothing more than a tweak here and a bump there, but it's always cool to hear how making something just a tiny bit lower in the mix will allow other bits to pop out, significantly.
We might be finished by end of the day, tomorrow.
Might go longer.
We're trying to give the album a sequence as we go thru the mixes.
We're gonna have troubles and heartaches deciding which one, possibly two, of the 14 recorded songs don't make it on to the album.
Not a quality issue, but one of timing.
You can kill a party by staying too long.
We'll know more by the end of these sessions.
Back at it in the A.M.
We'll get an earlier start on the actual mixing.
The first couple of hours today Pete spent doing all the necessary routing and connecting and wiring and rewiring.
Don't ask me, folks.
Not a clue.
But I do know we're getting closer all the time.
26/08/09 at 11:33 PM
|And closer still...
We've done remixes on 8 of the 14 songs so far and I'm not exaggerating when I say they are 30-40% better than they were.
Pete did alot of the general, tedious, crucial technical 'legwork' in the first mixes, so we can now concentrate on specifics.
Bringing an instrument or a vocal line up a bit.
Changing or adding a reverb or an EQ.
I'm not savvy enough to even tell you about it.
I just know what I hear or want to hear and Pete knows how to get it.
After some discussion, we're not sure we don't want to go with our original 13 song lineup.
So difficult to decide what to lose.
Apparently, we're not finishd here and I'm not going home tomorrow.
What's another day when you're trying to make something that will last longer than you will, huh?
So, it seems the younger brother of yet another freaky family passed away.
Jimmy Osmond, watch yer ass! ~
28/08/09 at 05:14 AM
It's a little after 6AM on Friday morning.
Only got home a couple of hours ago.
After one last marathon session, the
remixing is now complete, including a running order that we think really works.
We ended up using 13 songs and it's not too long at all.
We can leave this alone for awhile now and go back to pondering some of life's great mysteries, like the recent footage of Michael Jackson, allegedly, hopping out of the back of the L.A. Coroner's van at the hospital.
I don't know.
How surprised would we really be? ~
28/08/09 at 03:35 PM
|I'm pleased that folks have enjoyed reading the album related blogs.
So, the new one is mixed and sequenced, but there are still lots of steps to take and moves to make before it's released.
Artwork is being looked at.
I've started writing my liner notes.
Actually, reading over them, they may be done.
We still have to take photos that will be used in the album package and 2010 tour brochure.
And many people to contact and make certain are in place for the album release and accompanying tour.
But, all these things will take place quietly and over a period of months.
There probably won't be much mention of the album now until much closer to time.
Maybe not til after the holidays.
My focus is now back to this year's tour and all the solo shows I have coming up.
And there are quite a few.
See you down the road! ~