So don’t ya know, I find Retro City Studios on Greene Street (in Germantown), and it’s at the corner of Greene and Pastorius (Jaco!), always adored that road sign, whenever I passed it! This is my first time to this studio – pretty cool layout, a nice big room with the console and brains in the basement! Well after setting up the Swart and pulling out the guitars, Matt went at it – staging the mic(s), the amp of course and a slick ambient mic placed high up against the front wall.
First up was Fretz, been playing this song in one form or another for many years now…. I banged out the rhythm, making a couple of pass throughs, shaking out the cobwebs. Matt and I were satisfied with what we just captured, but Matt wasn’t necessarily content – he asked if I could change it up a bit (been playing it this way a long time), I started to chop up the chords a little bit, getting Matt a little riled up, he started to come alive and began to make demands on my playing, it was at this point, I knew this was going to be a very strange and exciting night!! You’ll have to listen to the current track to get an idea of what happened! Onto the solo, cobwebs not completely out, I banged it out in usual fashion. After a couple of passes, Matt chimed in from below (in my headphones): “The solo is great and everything, but what the hell does it have to do with the soul of the tune, a curmudgeon named Fretz?!?” At first my knickers started to knot up (it really is quite a crafty solo I have composed and felt pretty proud of), but I quickly understood where he was coming from and agreed, my “neat” little solo was cool in its own way, but not necessarily what the song is/was calling for! I opted to save the solo for another time, having just laid down a somewhat new version of the old song Fretz!
Ghost of Yesterday – kinda the same thing, played the rhythm parts, a couple passes, and like clockwork, Matt chimed in: “OK, what else ya got?” He was obviously hearing something else! Part of this something else was the talk back mic, he left it on, by accident, and was blown away by the way it “picked up” the room, FAR better than the mic he planted at the beginning of the day! So with the new “ambient” mic in place (about 3 feet from my head!), he started to explain to me what he was hearing, he wanted deep, dark heavy chords and demanded they be sparse! Well, I think we got it done – mistakes and all, it sounds brilliant! As for the solo, this was laid down the way I’ve been playing it for a couple/few years now – no objection from Matt 🙂
With time fleeting, we moved to the next song, Into the Night (I2N). I knew up front my “nifty/crafty/hip solo” was not going to make the cut with Matt, back to the shed on this one too. I started this playing the Grosh, it laid into the mix so well on Ghost’s rhythm parts, that I knew it would do the same for I2N, a couple of passes, and it was done! I suggested that we lay a heavier humbucking guitar into the meat of it, going for that classic 70s sound. I think I did one or two passes, and it was like icing the cake, it fell in perfectly!! Matt, never being content on status quo, suggested we add some lines on the chorus of the song, I started arpeggiating thru the chords when he chimed in that he heard simple descending line with quarter notes. He sang the line and I played it, doubling it then laying down the harmonies in duplicate as well! It kinda reminds me of Thin Lizzy!
I wasn’t expecting the night to turn out like that, some significant changes in the attitudes of two of the songs – all done on a whim with just Matt and me….. What are the others going to think, I dreaded the phone call departing the studio, I was nervous and excited…..