I’ve never been a fan of recording. There’s too much pressure! You have to play the song over and over again until you get it right. I’m a live performer; a showman. Nailing a jump on stage is way more important than hitting a note. If you hit the note, great, if you miss it, oh well, you just keep playing. Songs that I don’t think twice about playing live suddenly become great challenges. My hands tense up, I forget arrangements, and I’m an all around mess. For these reasons, I’ve rarely been happy with any of my prior studio recordings.
I expected the Hey Stranger recording session to be no different. We’ll also toss in the fact that I had really only known these guys for a few months and barely knew a few of the songs. I also hadn’t done any recording in about 4 years. The nice thing about Day 1 was that we were in a studio in Sunset Park Brooklyn to do drum parts. I was being recorded, but we were there to track drums. Big relief. If I nailed something, we could keep it, but anything I missed could be re-recorded the next day at Danny’s place. Danny’s the HNIC on this recording session, producing and engineering the whole thing. Long story short, we ended up getting 4 songs down in about 3 hours of actual recording, which was 2 songs more than I expected us to accomplish. I was really pleased with Danny’s ability to step up as producer, take charge, and give direction. I was also pleased with how well Frankie played in the studio and how well he took direction from Danny, it’s not always an easy task to take production direction from a band mate. You can read more about Frankie’s session in his recording blog entry.
The very next day, I went over to Danny’s place to help pick out drum takes and see if any of my bass tracks were salvageable. We were fortunate enough to have to choose between a selection of very good takes (versus have to choose the least crappy of a selection of crappy takes). The best part was I nailed the bass tracks to one of the songs; in one take! That’s unheard of for me. I was a quarter of the way done with my recording and I hadn’t even taken my bass out of it’s case yet.
The rest of the bass recording went super smooth. Danny’s great at giving direction and we work together pretty well. This is the first time I’ve ever been this excited about a recording session. I like the tunes and I like how easy it’s been to work with this group of guys. Everybody can dish it out as well as they can take it so it’s been pretty painless so far.
I can’t wait to hear the guitars, vocals, and horns.