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February 27, 2009

Here we go again! I posted Kreggers' The Rest of My Days as the featured song, and while he and I were both pretty happy with it as it stood a month or two ago, he did say that he wanted more of that guitar in there and that it should come in sooner. I had that other mix in my head at the time and couldn't exactly hear how to do what he wanted.

Listening to it recently I came up with a better kick drum pattern to play. One thing led to the next and over the course of a couple of nights I recorded different drum parts and remixed the thing. It is now more rockin'.


I ran out of time last night, but I will be tweeking this mix a bit- I want to hear more of the steel guitar, and I think it's a little muddy in the bass. Let me know how you like it so far.

February 23, 2009


Kregger and his pal Dave checked in last Friday and started work on a new version of Kindred Spirits. Don't adjust your set- Kregger really does have a green guitar.

We also got some rough ideas recorded for two or three others, so stay tuned... How 'bout we feature his first one for a while?

February 20, 2009

Farewell to all that...

random 01

The engineers warned me about this. The technology behind the first recordable CDs was such that the information encoded in the bits and pits, the ones and zeros, would gradually be lost. Soon the title I gave this one ten or fifteen years ago will accurately describe the information contained on it.

This was my first home-made CD recording. CD recorders for computers hadn't made the scene yet, so this was done on a stand-alone CD recorder I borrowed. Recording one of these was very iffy, and there were plenty of coasters created in the process- at about $5 apiece.

random 01 too

Here's the beginning of the song list on it. You could add songs at different times, but until the disk was finalized you couldn't play it back. There were different standards for finalizing too, I think- Red Book, White Book and so on. It was nuts.

It starts with a track of digital noise. Not intentionally, I'm sure. Sort of broke the mood when you hit play on the old CD player without skipping right to track 2, I'll tell ya! Track 9 sort of appeared in the process- there's nothing on it, it's just a track of emptyness that the machine decided to add, and it threw off all the numbering.

random 01 three

Here's the rest of the song list- you could jam a lot on there. All that work to make a CD that would not play on most CD players. It was pretty exciting! But now this disk with its flaky noise bursts and empty tracks can't be played at all. Well, actually, the cheapo Dell Music Player on my computer will sort of play it, but it stutters and skips and is very noisy.

noisy track sample.mp3

Anyway, no worries. The engineers warned me that this would happen, and I made a backup copy- on DAT!

February 19, 2009

I just found out about a new holiday for musicians- St. Practice Day. It falls on February 17th, and is the day musicians start practicing for their highly lucerative St. Patricks Day gigs.

I've started a day late, but, god willing, will be gigging that night with an outfit which may be called Save the Kells at a place definitely called McCleary's.

February 14, 2009

gadjo quartette

Here's a recent photo of the elusive band...

February 11, 2009

More wayback for you.

The basic instrumental tracks for this one were recorded on reel to reel, and I suspect it was during the period of time when I had a four track surround-sound recorder. This wasn't real multi-track, where you could listen back to previously recorded tracks and record new ones at the same time time- no, this was just a regular stereo machine with two extra channels, which were supposed to be for the rear speakers. Way ahead of its time...

Be that as it may, it was a major step ahead for me, because once I got it I could bounce recordings from another machine to two of the channels and record new things on the other two and be able to mix them later. This minimized the complication and stress factors greatly. In a band situation I could do a stereo mix of drums and bass and record two other instruments seperately, then add vocals and leads on a bounce. This was very clean compared to what I had been able to do with stereo recorders.

I found these tracks some time ago and transferred them to my digital recorder. It was all there, premixed, except for the vocals. Last night I went in and sang along with work I had done at least 25 years ago. It was kind of fun to do that. I think the song and the recording have held up well. Back then I had no noise gates, no limiting, no compression, and the effects consisted of the spring reverb in a Peavy board and an external analogue delay. My mic selection was pretty limited as well, yet these tracks have some snap. A lot of that was because of the snappy drumming, and while I don't know for sure, it sounds like Rick Bowman playing them to me.

Jeff Coleman Fall Right Through.mp3 or Jeff Coleman Fall Right Through.ogg

If any of you have heard this one before, you may not think that I've redone the vocals. For better or worse, I sing it just the way I did back then. They're cleaner now, is all...

February 07, 2009

One for the sponsors. A while back Trance and I put together a band for one gig- we called ourselves Death Clowns. Trance said, more like Deaf Clowns, but whatever. We had the mighty Jeff Clinton on drums, and I hope the bass player will forgive me because I don't remember who that was. We played our one gig, opening for somebody at the Italian American Club, everyone's favorite late-night drinking establishment.

Well, a tape of the event was made, but for whatever reason it was mostly high frequencies. May have been the tape machine we were using, I don't know. Today I dared to cut them high frequencies very hard and got a reasonable version of one of my early 80's songs, Grizzly Delights, with Trance and I trading reasonable leads. Sponsors only- look to the catalog!

February 06, 2009

Bonus Friday! A two-fer featured song to start the weekend!


I'm still working through older things I'd transferred to the hard drive recorder from reel to reel tape. These are some partial songs, some early tracks* and some completed songs that have never made it to the digital realm.

This one is a sort of touchstone for me- it has elements in it (water, magnetic waves?) that have worked their way into subsequent songs of mine (Toujours Ensemble?). Plus it turned out pretty well, I think, technically...

Jeff Coleman Surfin To You.mp3 or Jeff Coleman Surfin To You.ogg

*Back in the day I would "bounce" tracks from one recorder to another, adding parts during the transfer. It was a way to multitrack without having big expensive recording machines, but with some significant drawbacks. First of all, every bounce added noise and distortion. This could be used to advantage, but it wouldn't win any awards. Secondly, once you set sail, you committed yourself to following wherever the additional tracks lead you- you couldn't just decide to scrub a part later on if it didn't suit you. Not such a bad thing, really, just different from the way things are now.

February 05, 2009

sunny side

Music brings me joy...

February 04, 2009

I did some remixing last night- new and improved...

The Stokers- Groove01.mp3 or The Stokers- Groove01.ogg

Again, this is all i-Pod except for the lead guitar. Some of those guitar riffs have got hair on them.


I'm trying to catch up with the past a little here... this next one must have started back in Paradise, in the Cat Ranch studio, so that goes back a ways. See, I had a dream that there was a mile-high platform, nothing but a garden built up on steel legs, and that I drove there one night, and went up to the garden and watched the sun rise over distant mountains. The sun was lighting up this garden, while far below the land was still dark.

This song is about that dream, sort of. I couldn't think of any other way to write it except for that sort of prog rock that Genesis was doing. I guess that now I could write about it differently.

But it is what it is. When I listened back to it, there was a whole lot of the high frequency stuff in it, it was horrible. I have no idea what I was doing, I must have been going after something, but it was painful to listen to. Tonight I just slashed away at that high end (which included a bunch of tape noise, as the original was recorded on my old reel to reel) and now I feel pretty comfortable with it:

The Stokers- Life On Earth.mp3 or The Stokers- Life On Earth.ogg

February 02, 2009

the Knob

It's all about the Knob this morning...

Featured Song:

Craig Wise
The Rest of My Days

mp3  or  ogg

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Repairing a Kurzweil piano key.

Repairing a Tascam Porta-Two.

the End of an Era.


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January, 2009

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