January 21, 2013

Music-filled weekend: Food Not Bombs party w/ klezmer and a friend from the Bay—then Monday, recording Suicide Lounge…

Category: recording — admin @ 8:12 pm

John Shafer playing at the Food Not Bombs fundraiser.

Recording session with Suicide Lounge. Clock-wise from bottom-left: Joy Mohler, Robert Paul, Nate Butler, me holding tape



Sunday was the annual Food Not Bombs fundraising party. Opening the show was Mike Glendinning from the East Bay.

After his set, Mike Glendinning (far right) joined us on one of our tunes.

After our set (in which we had a whole pocket-full of new songs–and  re-worked a couple ”deep catalogue” Trike Shop numbers), was Frezmorim—yes, the klezmer band we fell in love with at Tokyo Garden back in October.

Our klezmer friends Frezmorim tearing it up at Full Circle Brewery.

Good fun, and good food was had to all. Thanks to  Kelly and Tina and all the good folks at Food Not Bombs and Kenny and Joy and all at Full Circle Brewery. As Tom Magill says, “It takes many stones to make an arch.”


Scott gives the benediction as we play on with the theremin.

And then on Sunday, another all afternoon recording session in the legend-in-it’s-own-lunchtime Whispermaphone Studios. Today, my guests were Suicide Lounge. They recorded three tunes for a couple of different compilations. One, the much-looked-forward-to Fresno Covers Fresno project, and the other, a sampling of music from the Rogue Performance Festival. What band expects to record three songs in one afternoon? These folks do. Crazy. But we did it….at least up to the rough-mix stage. They recorded a couple of Fresburgian tunes that have been in their live sets for some time: one of mine (“Your Sad Party Dress”), and one from early 90′s Fresno goth band The Shroud (“Falling Dream”). The third was a tune that Nate had recorded before on a solo album that Suicide Lounge really makes their own.  I’ll be listening to, and enjoying these tunes, for a long time to come.

putting the music on tape

Thanks again to Mike Glendinning for coming all the way down to Fresno to play for us!

AND—thanks to David and Linda Hurst for the pictures of the show!

April 26, 2012

Trike Shop puts a new tune on the tape…

Category: recording — admin @ 8:36 pm

Last night, we got down to some recording. We were taping a new song for our contribution to this  year’s International Pop Overthrow Festival’s CD compilation. (This tune might also find it’s way onto the next Trike Shop album, but considering the pace at which we finish and release records, it might be a year or so before that comes to fruition.) The song is “(Dale said) Things Grow in Fresno”, based on a phrase our friend Dale Stewart was throwing around.

We recorded the basic track last night–did about 6 complete takes only to agree that ‘yeah, the first one was the best.’—a typical rock n’ roll story. The next job’ll be to get the harmony vocals, an acoustic guitar overdub, and then the lead vocal.

The rest of the eve was devoted to looking at an even *newer* tune. Maybe a new Trike Shop collection ain’t so far away after all.

February 12, 2012

First Recordings of Harp/Theremin project finished!

Category: recording — admin @ 7:52 pm

see "The Golden Strings of the Forbidden Planet"...part of this year's Rogue Performance Festival--the first weekend in March.

I’ve been spending hours obsessing over these tapes– every single night for about two weeks.

These recordings are the first fruits of our labors. Ellie Choate (harp), John Shafer (percussion), and myself are working up a body of material that will feature the harp and the theremin. One of our first public performances will be for the 11th annual Rogue Performance Festival. My friend Brad Hufft, through the non-profit new-music assosiaction “Orpheus”, is sponsoring this show, along with some others in the festival. Our recordings, along with the works of some local electronic music composers, will be released on CD compilation available in March. Our show is called “The Golden Strings of the Forbidden Planet!”..click here for more info.

So, on top of trying to put together a set of music to perform, we’ve also been hustling to get these tapes in shape. And while the theremin can sometimes be forgiven its rather ….unique approach to ‘tuning accuracy’ in-person (you know, with all that magical arm waving to distract the audience), on a recording, you need it to be just right—and this is straight to analogue tape. No Pro-Tools. No ‘auto-tune’. This brings us back to those words “obsessing” and “every single night”. But as of this morning, when just a couple more lines were re-recorded, and one last piece mixed (for the…upteenth time), it is signed, sealed and delivered.

Here is the list of our first performances. Come see them all—and buy the CD!

Sun., Feb. 26 at 3pm in the Ellipse Gallery of Fresno State’s Henry Madden Library.

Fri. March 2nd  6:15pm at Veni Vidi Vici–part of the Rogue Performance Festival

Sat. March 3rd at 3:45pm at Veni Vidi Vici–part of the Rogue Performance Festival

Sun. March 4th at 2:30pm at Veni Vidi Vici–part of the Rogue Performance Festival

Thurs. March 8th at 8pm at The Tower Theater–opening for Herman Rarebell of The Scorpions

April 28, 2011

Work continues on “Everyone’s Unplugged but Martin”

Category: recording,UK Tour 2011 — admin @ 1:00 pm

Work continued last night in the secret vaults of Whispermaphone Studios (swamp version*) last night.

The original tracks (cut last week) were made with the four of us playing live in the room (as opposed to the players overdubbing their parts individually). All of them were done this way but one: “Clever Things”. This was cut a few minutes before Leland could get there. So tonight, Leland strapped on the headphones and laid down the piano part—-no mean feat. Sometimes it’s hard to make something ‘feel’ just right; finding the ‘pocket’, ‘the groove’, can be tricky when you’re laying something down while listening to the original track—Leland pulled it off perfectly.

The next challenge was to fix a problem that I had caused. Two of the tracks “Who’s Got a Light?” and “Send the Band to Liverpool” didn’t have drums. Well, they sort of did…I had re-routed John’s mic’s for the previous song, and then didn’t set them back to where they belonged. The result: two perfectly good takes with drums that you could only hear bleeding slightly through the other instrument’s mics. Gargh!

John set about trying to overdub drums. Not only is this an ill-advised way to work (you want your rhythm tracks locked in perfectly), it’s severely difficult. If the band’s tempo varied at all (and it usually does), it can be impossible. I’ve seen John pull it off, but in this case, the original drums bled through enough to highlight any discrepencies. [ach, who was the lame engineer who'd led us to this pickle?] After a valiant attempt and some creative work-arounds, we decided we’d end up with something we were all proud of only if we re-cut the two tunes. Luckily the band had just enough juice left (even though it was getting late) to pull off two fiery takes each of both songs.

So….the work continues.

Not only do these versions have a different ‘sound’…what with us using only acoustic pianos and guitars, but since we’re using a different approach, the arrangements change a bit…it’s more a creative re-working than a reproduction of these songs which are a familiar part of our live sets. I’m hoping that those who recieve this new disc (by pledging 20 bucks or more on our kickstarter.com campaign—-Click here!) will be very happy with this unique project.

watch the video to learn more.

*It does get a little ‘swampy’ in there when recording four folks live, and you’ve gotta turn the air conditioning off (it makes noise y’know) when the tape’s rolling….but that, and Leland playing the rather down-home-y upright piano…made for an atmospheric deep-in-the bayou mood on these sessions.

April 27, 2011

working on our un-plugged album

Category: recording,UK Tour 2011 — admin @ 12:37 pm

We’re nearly finished with “Everyone’s Unplugged Except Martin” our un-plugged album that we’re recording exclusively for our kickstarter.com fund raiser. The backing tracks were recorded in one day-long marathon session last week. Tonight we’ll be doing a few overdubs, and I expect the whole of recording will be done by early next week. Add on a couple more days for mixing, and the album will be finished. We’ll be mailing it out to those who pledged twenty dollars or more for the fundraiser that’s helping to launch our tour of England at the end of May.
The way kickstarter fundraisers work, we have a set amount of time (19 days as of this writing) to raise the dough or we get nothing….so, if you’re so inclined, please hop on over (click here) and donate anything that you can. You will recieve fabulous prizes—like the album I’m writing about. A slightly higher pledge will get us to write and record a song customed made for you. A bit more will hire us to play at your party or function. Oh what a bargain! Plus…you’re helping send this band on it’s way to Liverpool, Manchester and London.
Watch the fun video here!

June 14, 2010

I got to help make someone *elses* record.

Category: recording — admin @ 6:27 pm

Today I had the rare-for-me opportunity of recording someone else’s project.
Not that I haven’t been asked, but often time (the rarity of it) has stopped me.

Here’s my best shot at describing this piece o’ work: it’s a Folk-Rock Oratorio. I think
that’s accurate. It has 11 songs joined together by theme and by short narration bits.
It’s written and performed by a local duo made up of David Spencer and Randy Morris that
works under the name: Spencer/Morris.

A folk-rock oratorio? You mean that doesn’t sound like something that’s been a ‘Top Download’ on I-Robot-Tunes Dot Com? Oh brothers and sisters….this thing is both very odd and (I think) very good.
It’s a work about the 70′s. Yes….rom Gerald Ford to Jimmy Carter. From Underground FM to MOR. From
the Energy Crisis to Farah Fawcett . I dare sare there’s a sparkle of brilliance here. I mean, you KNOW you’ve
been itching to sing along on a song about Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army!

So, after hearing the whole work two or three times at this years Rogue Festival, I told Mr.’s Spencer
and Morris. “I’d love to record this.” So we did.

We met this morning and ran through the whole thing. Each song live. Each song twice.

It’s now half-way finished. (Don’t ask about the second half….it hurts me to admit it. It was lost due to a hasty
button-pressing by me. Ouch. OK……we’ll finish it another day this week!
Watch for when it comes out. You’ll be glad you did.