I’m sipping my first cup of coffee and listening to NPR. Later this morning, I’m driving up to Connecticut to track backing vocals on the Constants record. Will contacted me a few weeks ago asking me if I’d be interested in contributing some vocals on their new recordings. Constants are a good band so naturally I agreed. Will emailed me a download link for the new material and I tried to come with some ideas. I didn’t have a lyric sheet so I’ll have to check in with Will.
I’m going to get a work out in before I head out; do some deadlifting and over-the-head work, log in some cardio. January was spent getting back in shape to train; now I feel like I can actually get into it and make some headway. I’m thinking about the upcoming touring. Next month we’re doing a few dates with Graves of Valor, basically to get us down to Austin for South by South West, and in April we head out on the tour with Mayhem. I have to be prepared mentally and physically for all of this. During the European tour, I felt like I was battling fatigue every night; I want to be in better condition.
I had trouble sleeping last night so I dug into some of the Decibel magazines that I had laying around the apartment. I read the Saint Vitus and Trouble Hall of Fame articles. Vitus’s entry was for “Born to Late” and the Trouble entry was for “Psalm 9.” I always take for granted that Saint Vitus was kind of a hated band when they formed back in ‘79/’80. The punks didn’t dig them and the metalheads didn’t dig them. While I was reading it, I played “Heavier than Thou” and sunk into the dreariness of the record, tripping out on the concept of seeing Vitus and Black Flag play shows together.
The first record I hear by Trouble was their self-titled LP that Def American released back in the mid-80’s, I checked out Psalm 9 much later. At the time, I was more into punk and hardcore, however, I was always a huge Sabbath fan, so I was able to tap into Trouble’s vibe. I could never get into their positive spirituality.
Everything was going according to schedule until I crossed into Connecticut on I-95. I finished my workout at 10:30, stopped by the apartment to answer some email and pick up some miscellaneous gear that I needed for my trip, got a cup of coffee for the road and was in transit at 11:15. The trip to Clinton is about 1.5 hours so I was within the window that I had planned for.
Traffic was light as I drove out of Brooklyn on the BQE up into Queens and out towards the Whitestone Bridge. As I got onto I-95 North I spotted an LED sign that read “accident at Exit 18 Middle and Right Lanes closed to Exit 21.” It’s always something, isn’t it? I phoned ahead to Will, giving him sitrep and that I will be running late. I hit the resultant traffic, basically a standstill that stretched for miles. Two hours later I was past Exit 21 and I observed one of those HAZMAT clean up rigs that you see at serious traffic accidents. The brutalized remains of two automobiles rested on the shoulder f the highway; cops, fireman and guys in clean-up gear were milling around the wreckage.
I was still approximately 40 miles away; I was scheduled to be there at 13:00. I rolled into the driveway at about 15:00. Will and Orion were inside, working on the recording. It was a cozy little recordings setup: Will had modified his house into a decent sized tracking room with a 15 ft. high ceiling and a small mixing room were he had some outboard gear, his laptop and the Pro Tools Digi 002. He and his wife live there; apparently, they had just moved down and spent the last few months working on the house; they had done an impressive job. I had began to unclench, the anxiety of driving up through all that traffic was beginning to wear off and I was beginning to sink into the relaxed vibe of being away from New York. The high ceilings had begun to alleviate the ever-present claustrophobia that you develop from living there. I looked out the huge living room windows and saw a big blue sky and the winter skeletons of trees.
Anyway, we got down to it. My mission was to lay down backing vocals for two tracks, “Spider in White” and “Palmer Eldritch.” A few weeks ago, Will emailed me demo’s of the songs so I could be familiar with the material before tracking day and be able to develop some vocal ideas. The songs sounded great as they were, so I just wanted to follow directions and do what he told me to do. It was a good exercise for me because I tend to have issues with giving up control, but this was someone else’s vision and I was there just to accent his work. After a few warm up runs, I was ready to start going for the real takes. It was harder than I thought because Will’s cadence ad vocal patterns are a lot different that what I typically do in Tombs.
We wrapped it up a few hours later. Will told me that he was only going to be handling the tracking duties and Justin Broderick was lined up for the mixing. I’m interested to hear the final versions of the song.
For Will’s video Recording Diary go to