Transmission 11.22.2008 Winter Hours Recording Diary

Winter Hours Recording Diary
8.07.2008    Dale City, VA
I’m about 80 miles from Richmond. So far, the drive has been okay and traffic has been minimal.  I drove straight through from Somerset, NJ after work.  Justin and Carson are driving down with the gear.
I’m at the Denny’s that we used to eat at on the Anodyne tours. Nick and Jessie from the Wayward used to live in a house a couple of miles from here.  I can’t remember how many times I slept on their couch over the years.  I just sent an email to Nick from my blackberry notifying him that I’m here.  He lives in Baltimore now.
Dinner is here: grilled chicken sandwich, hash browns and a cup of chicken noodle soup.  The coffee is a struggle.
8.08.2008    0828
I’m sitting on the porch. Earlier, I hiked up to Elwood’s to get coffee and provisions.
I arrived at around 2200 last night.  There was an intense lightning storm about 15 miles outside of Richmond: very apocalyptic.  Whenever I come down here, lately, it seems like I have to drive through an electrical storm.  Last summer when we recorded the King Generator record, it was the same deal.  The storm was so bad that Jamie’s flight was re-directed to DC.
Once again the Dave Witte / Amy McFadden camp has come through for me.  Dave is out on tour with Municipal Waste for a few more days, but Amy has agreed to let me post up here for the duration.  The irony is that while I’m down here in his house, Witte will be up in Brooklyn performing in this 88 Drummers thing.
It’s good to sit here and not do anything.
I’m killing time, feeling a little anxious.  I want to get on with it.  I just finished listening to the Max Roach vs. Buddy Rich record that Andrew loaned me.  You have to love the IPod.  I have most of my record collection with me as well as a ton of random music downloads that I hustled off of the Internet.  Now it’s Deathspell Omega “Disciples of the Ultimate Void.”
Right now the record doesn’t exist.  There is a concept.  In a couple of hours we will take the first steps in creating the first Tombs LP.  All of the practice and preparation, nights struggling over lyrics, hours in the practice room will be reduced to the ten tracks that we’re recording over the next week.
8.09.2008    0756
I woke up about an hour ago, went for a walk and hit up the local Starbucks.  I’m sitting on the porch eating a cup of yogurt and enjoying my cup of coffee.  I would have preferred to hit this place up the road called Betsy’s, but it wasn’t open.  It’s Saturday, I guess most people in Richmond sleep in on the weekends.
I have “Dimension Hatross” playing on the headphones.  It’s hard to believe that this record came out so long ago.
We finished all of the drums yesterday. That was impressive to me.  Looking ahead, I know that it will take me many hours to do my parts.
Ian and John, the engineers are really cool.  Typical laid-back Richmond cats; really comfortable and not in too much of a hurry.  The studio is small but we’re getting good sounds.  That speaks more about the skill of the guys behind the board.  I’m learning a lot watching them work.
Today should go well. Carson usually runs through the bass tracks pretty quickly, which blows my mind for someone with so little experience.
Today is John’s birthday so I think the plan is to do some kind of social trip later on.  On a side note, he’s tight with Jason Hodges, my old friend from Suppression.
8.11.2008    0038
We finished rhythm guitars today. So far everything sounds good.  Ian and John are really cool and easy to work with; we’re having a good time and the situation is pretty much stress free.
Lift, the coffee shop around the corner from the studio was closed today, so we had to make do with John’s espresso pot and percolator.  Yesterday, while waiting for Ian and the other guys, I had an interesting conversation with these two “traveler” chicks camped out in front of “Lift.”  They told me that they didn’t like “Yankees”.  One was about 18 years old; a “sweet young thing” learning the ways of the world.  The other was toothless and from Nebraska.  She was probably about 21, but she looked about 45.  I’ve heard that excessive crystal meth use causes you to age prematurely and for your teethe to fall out.  It really takes a toll on your body.  The young one had been through some shit with a guy and told me that she’ll never trust anyone again and that she hates men.  The other one regarded me with a cold predatory stare, neither friendly nor unfriendly.  They had a nice dog with them.  Eventually, they left, disappearing down the hot city streets.
I’m watching some reality show about Gene Simmons the dude from Kiss.  In this episode, Simmons is working on a scheme to sell more units of his new clothing line.  He’s disgusting.  I know a lot of people buy into Kiss as being a real band but they’re just Show Biz; total bullshit.
Simmons rolls with these two plastic surgery-ravaged blonde women.  There’s something wrong with their faces like the skin is too tight and their lips are all blown up out of proportion.  I bet Ol’ Gene fucks them.  I wonder if they look good naked.
In a few hours, I’m going to have breakfast with Amy and then it’s back to the studio for more guitar overdubs and hopefully some first passes on vocals.
8.12.2008    1129
We get into vocals today.  So far everything is going well but today will determine whether or not this is a step forward for me or just another hardcore record.  Physically, I feel a little tired but otherwise fit.  Recording is draining.
The other guys went back to New York.
I’m sitting outside of Lift.  I have “Master of Reality” playing on my iPod. If only I could make a record like this.  I used to think that “Paranoid” was their best, but “Master” is such and intense record.  The opening riff of “Sweatleaf” is the heaviest thing.  Also, when they drop into the main riff of “After Forever” is a highlight of the record.  “Into the Void” is probably my favorite cut on this record; once again, when they drop into the main riff after the intro, it makes me want to trash everything in the room.  Ozzie’s voice also sounds great on this record.
I’ve been reading this article in Decibel about the making of the first Down record.  I remember getting a free copy of the record back in the 90’s and not really being into it.  I think it I heard it now, I’d probably be more open to it.  Except for Eyehategod, I don’t really dig the bands that those guys are in.  C.O.C. had dropped off long before that record was recorded.  The article made me want to check out the record again.  They seemed to have such a killer vibe and seemed like dudes that I’d like to know.  When I get back home, I’ll try to locate a copy.
When I got back to the house, I watched some of the Olympics with Amy.  The Chinese have been dominating the Gymnastics events.
I fell asleep with the TV on.  I woke up in the early morning with an info-mercial about a penis enlargement drug program.  It was called “Enlargo” or something like that.
8.13.2008    1720
I’m back at the house for a while. I wrapped ups vocals earlier this afternoon.  All in all, I’m satisfied.  My voice held up really well.  After warming up, I went through all of the songs pretty quickly.  We did three takes and comped the best lines from each.  The only songs that gave me a bit of trouble were “Beneath the toxic Jungle” and “The Great Silence”.  I sometimes have issues when I sing without playing guitar.  My timing gets thrown off.  I was feeling a lot of anxiety about doing the vocals until I got into it.  All of the rehearsal and physical training paid off; my timing was on and my voice held up.  Hopefully, the work is good.  I can’t tell anymore.
Dave got back yesterday.  We met up and ate Thai food at this place near the house.
The shower I took earlier is making me feel relaxed.  I have Buzzoven’s “sore” record playing in the headphones.  It’s time to get more coffee and head back to the studio.
8.14.2008    1603
I’m enjoying a cup of coffee and sitting in the living room above the studio.  I purchased the last two Slayer records at Plan 9 this morning and stopped at Chop Suey Book Shop on the way in.  I’d been driving past it every day and wanted to stop in.  It’s a really nice place with a decent selection of used books.  I picked up a book of letters by Hunter S. Thompson called “The Proud Highway”, “Troubled Sleep” by Sartre and a Glenn E Friedman photo-book about Fugazi.  There’s a really long text piece by Ian Svenonius.  I like Fugazi more for what they stood for and the catharsis of their shows than for the actual music.  “Repeater” is the one for me.  That’s pretty much the one that I reach for when I want to get into Fugazi.  In a lot of ways I feel that the era of bands like Fugazi has passed, so this book has a historical and somewhat nostalgic vibe for me.  As time goes by, I look at this period as kind of a failed experiment.
“The Divide” is pretty much mixed.  We start on “Gossamer” next.
Richmond seems to be in the middle of a heavy gentrification period.  The building next door is being renovated so every now and then the contractors will start jackhammering.  It creates quite a racket.  During tracking, John would go outside and ask them to cool out for a while until we got out takes.  I was blown away that the contractors actually stopped and waited for us to do our thing.  In New York, things would have gone down a drastically different path.
8.16.2008    1238
We’ve been hitting it hard for the passed few days.  We’re almost finished.  I’m looking forward to getting this thing done so we can concentrate on touring.
It’s good seeing Dave, but the exhaustion and anxiety have put a damper on the “Hang Out” vibe.  All I’ve seen is the studio, the house and some random stops along the way.
We’re getting down to the short strokes.  “Beneath the Toxic Jungle” and “Story of a Room” are left.  Ian is editing and doing the set up.
On my walk from Lift back to the studio, I spotted the watermelon that I threw off of the roof last night.  Flies were eating the sweet fruit flesh.  Sometimes, the monotony and stress accumulate and you have to blow off some steam.  Throwing a watermelon off of the roof was a perfect method.  No one was hurt, so what’s the harm, right?


2 Responses to “Transmission 11.22.2008 Winter Hours Recording Diary”

  1. Did you ever get a copy of that Down record? It’s one of my all time favorites. I haven’t found an affordable copy of vinyl, but I’m always looking. It would sound so good on wax.

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