So, someone at TOMB wrote:

i’m guessing you’re not familiar with frank zappa then. he was as out there as
it gets and needed no substance. he was also insanely talented and again
needed nothing. substance/music going together is a myth

I replied:

Look, I’m about as reg’lar a Zombie Woof as anyone ever loved P-I-N-K-Y, $69.95 was, with my zircon-encrusted tweezers, wrist watch and Sears poncho, OK?
Zappa was jittery on life, all Armenian and shite as he was and if Flo & Eddied did it different, well, it wasn’t in front of him but he understood the culture, even as he disapproved of some of it.
Now, please explain the attraction of Cynthia Plastercaster (GTO’s) and Steve fucking Vai.
“substance/music going together is a myth” is mere wishfulness, droog, I’m afeared. And if the better among us conduct their lives believing the opposite myth, well, at least they don’t look like Keef, or die like Layne Staley.
Now, where the hell’s the olives?


I mix with olive juice.

Asked Re: Choosing the Right Monitors, I answered

(I note that this response was to a fellow traveler looking for monitors under $200, and whether or not to be concerned about lack of room treatment.)

Aiight, I am not a pro but I am a prolific and long-time experienced recordist (read, “old”), with a fairly extensive but low-cost collection of gear in my bedroom studio (“bedio”).

Glad to meetcha.

So, my $1.280 is to do a little research, and seek out used gear. I rely – have for years – on Tannoy PBM 6.5 II monitors, which can be easily found on the Ebog for under US$200. I recall certain KRK’s, Alesis and even Samson speakers being praised in years past, such that 5 or 10 years later might be extremely good buys. (FWIW, I used Optimus 5’s for a long while, and OK results, with cross-references in the car, the home stereo, etc.) I have a pair of Auratones which, while not “nice” to listen to, sure give me good mixes, and I paid far less than your limit. For that matter, I have a $50 Tivoli that I am confident I could use along with a shite stereo boombox and get presentable ruff mixes of the rock stuff I do.

I wouldn’t be too concerned (place any particular greater emphasis) about low-end reproduction in that cross-referencing can help, low-pass filters can help, etc. You can always add a cheap sub later, if you need to get a rough idear of what’s down there … (Hate subs for mixin’, myself, but they come in handy on certain material, such as EDM and even noise/industrial.) Front vs. back vs. no port is something of a matter of preference as well as a dictator of monitor placement (rear port has to be farther off the wall for accuracy), but ports are basically seemingly essential if you want reasonable low end from small monitors and drivers.

Room treatment? Understand that I am speaking of low-budget approaches, entirely un-sanctioned, and from my own particular [lack of] taste and experience. That said, one of the purposes of near-field monitors, and indeed headphones, is to minimize the effect of the room you are in as you go about trying to blow minds. That’s not to say simple issues, such as trying to be in the center of the room (I’m not) and and least 6-12″ off the walls (I get 6″, ahem) should be ignored. The heavy blanket thing may feel useful, but ultimately gets oppressive, and fucking dusty. I do things like open the closet doors, keep lots of pillows on the bed (It is my “bedio”), use sensible volume levels (I like 82db at the listening position, but start much lower and try at least one mix much higher) to maximize that “near” part of “near-field”, toe the speakers and keep them at proper height while trying to keep reflections minimized re the desk, etc. I do have a cuppla bass traps … And like I said above, I change out speakers, and sometimes use headphones (I like Sony MDR 600’s for their imaging and bass exaggeration), and I often drop into mono for multi-track level-checks, as well.

Finally, ” to be able to accurately hear an honest representation of what I have tracked and be able to make the correct mixing decisions” is as much abut experience – particularly including your non-standard listening environment and gear (by what I mean, you are not moving from one expensive pro studio to the next) as it is the room and the gear itself, which latter two things arguably only make things easier/quicker/more repeatable, but not necessarily better.

Or at least so I tell me.

DISCLAIMER: a pot of coffee and the Sunday morning news shows, as well as a slight hang-over and rapidly building heat and humidity, have gone into the drafting of this novella

I mix with olive juice.

In defense of U2 (like they need it)

Responding to a friend’s apathy, I posted at LO:

Big fan here.

They started out as a Irish punk band with a message.

I’m not religious but I’ve never found their proselytizing offensive.

They started to get more and more atmospheric, and then went techno.

Now, they combine a little of all of that, with excellent and even cutting-edge production.

Sure, Bono can be a wanker, but can’t we all, and he seems sincere and also has done a lot of good social work.

Every record has at least one hit, many have more, and IMNSFHO they all have a minimum of 1/3 terrific content.

I listen to all of their records, still (other than Rattle & Hum, which still has some great tunes in “Bullet the Blue Sky” and the B.B. track) and look forward to their next.

While there exist many bands who have copied part of what they do (starting mebbe with The Fixx), their totality is unique, including their sound, vocals and performance skills.

Besides Bono’s unique voice and The Edge’s much-copied guitar work, Mullen has done a lot of very good session work (Robbie Robertson, Dylan, et al.), and Clayton gets one of my fave bass sounds.

Leonard Cohen, RIP

Leonard Cohen, RIP

While there are some elderly performers who have become “greatest hits” acts (some much younger ones, also), and some have just sort of cruised, others have won a Nobel, or could/should have.

Leonard Cohen’s latest CD was delivered to me the day he died and I did not listen to it, or any of his music that day to any great extent, because I want to give it the attention and time it always deserves.

While I never saw him in person, I treasure his recent performance DVD’s for their great musicianship, songs, and not least for Cohen’s own emotive performance. Not to mention his banter.

With Neil Young, Dylan, Willie Nelson, the deceased Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard and so many others, they allow popular music to age gracefully, and make that part of life part of an unabashed part of their music, continuing to write and to perform with a consistency of quality and vitality that was perhaps unexpected in their genres, but so fucking welcome.
bandcamp; vlayman;
THD; blog.
I mix with olive juice.

My Friday nite recording adventures

So, last night, at the instigation of the drummer, we again did “improv” recording. (I gotta getta better name for that, because they’re really a little more structured.)

In a exchange of emails during the week, he indicated how cool last week’s session was, and let’s do it again.

This time, while I brought my head and bottom, (and my amp and cabinet), I left the bass stuff in the truck, except my Hohner B2B j-style.  Tom had his 30 w. Peavey Classic (what a sweet amp), also, but we never plugged it in. I DI’d and I gotta say, the hi-z input on the Zoom R16 is really, really good, with this bass – I get a very convincing and inspirational grind out of it what rules for monitoring in cans, altho’ I typically re-amp or at least heavily EQ ifd I keep the trax.

I have a cheap Zoom 505 multi-FX and so I had Tom dick wiffit whilst I set up the drum mic’s, what were typical but slightly altered in that there were only 5:
E6502 on kick;
SM57 on snare;
SP C4’s in XY for OH’s (again on that imaginary snare/kick bisexting line opposite the hats)
RE320 looking across the rack toms, pointing at ye olde floor toms

The eighth track on the R16 was a SM58 for yo’s vocal styleeings.

Aiight, and since we agreed to do this as of Thursday, I got up at 8:30 AM Friday (I took the day off already) and by 10:15 I had the lyrics to 5 choons.

1 6-pack Lagunitas IPA – like, yum.

So then, wif me seated behind the recorder and Tom to me right as we faced the kit, we started on each song.  First, we either chose some chords (“Hey, Tom, what’s yer fave 3 chords?”) or used a word (one song as FAGG for the verse) or started witha bass riff inna single chord.  Then I would take a cupopla minnitz to fit the bass to the lyrics, and then we’d write the chorus and whatever bridge.  Going thru the parts we’d work out the derrangement, and also candy-shite like where to  put stops and breakdowns and one choon even opens wif just bass and vocal.

Then we’d do a practice partial-run of the parts.

Then – and half the time the other guys didn’t know – we’d be recording the take. Most were first takes, of 5 we did do two fecund takes.

The results? Mebbe I’ll post a ruff inna while as I have 58 minnitz of 8 tracks I’ve just started on, but, I think, as far as the drums go, stellar.  And that was the idear, to get drum tracks to the songs to what we will in the coming weeks overdub the guitars and the bass and the alleged singing and do all the sweetening  and mixing and masturding, etc.

We have so much stuff with Tom, now, I am gonna publish some tracks of just me and Mark (and a couple with Herr Grankenspoine) as MVx2 separately, and come up with a new project name for this aggregation.

Did I mention we’re having a blast?

Azza aside, we recorded between 6:00 and 10:30, and then sat around until 1:00 AM tellin’ war stories.  thumbsup

carpal diem!


Last night’s jammage and recording a new writing approach

Last night I recorded my drummer OD’ing on a Granx collab (coming atcha later today, G – it’s great!) and also on a MVx2 choon I originally playt to a loop of him.

That tookt about 2 hours because of lotsa BSin’, etc., and I mebbe had me a cuppla 312’s.

We did the OD’s by me having rendered the reference track to mono, and recording the drums on 6 trax (E602 to kick, SM57 on snare, RE320 on floor toms, Perception kick mic on racks, OH’s was SP C1’s in ORTF about 5′ up and 6′ out on the kick/snare axis).

So I left the drums pluggt in and DI’d the guitarist, Tom’s Les Paul thru a blues-driver into a channel and my headless bass into a channel and we jammed straight thru for 28+ minutes with me laying down a riff, the drums catching and then the guitar, going 3-5 minutes, stopping and then me starting a new one.

It was noteworthy because we had nothing written – I just thought up a bass line, figured the tonic for emphasis, and started playing – including changes that I made very obvious by nodding at the band, and showing my hands to Tom.  I could not do what he did – he follered me with very little hesitation, and even less mistakes, he’s that good.

Mark and I have been locking well for at least a year now – it was damn-near seamless.

So we ended up with 6 tracks of drums, plus a bass and guitar track each, in a half hour of improv.

I told the guys the bass and guitar were irrelevant (if fun), that the key thing was to get the drums inna groove for looping and writing to. That said, some of the playing is worthy just because of the interaction.

Anywhat, if ya get the chance to try doing this, do try doing this.

carpal diem!


Tuesnite jammage

So we playt with the new guitarist (me and the drummer, and in the musical, not the Ainglish, sense) a cuppla nights ago.

It was a totally interesting jam.

The guy is very good, not great, but he can play over anything.  Great laid-back personality, very musical. My only issues are temporary.  He owns a HRDX and a a Peavey Classic 30 (came with a new AmStandard Tele, what he handed to me to play – very refereshing from guys who act like yer asking to feel up their wife to try their axe).

He came with the Peavey and a Blues driver, no other effects – says he doesn’t use ’em.  But he listened to my suggestions and said he’s willing to use ’em, just never has.  My feeling is, in a power-trio, you are Clapton/EVH/Page, or ya use effects.  You know, delays, chorus, flangers, etc., at least occasionally.

He can play bass, also, altho’, IMNSFHO, I’m better at both – I’m definitely more aggressive as a player – I drive, he kinda follows, at least this time.

But he follows very well, and that’s what made it such a interesting jam.

I used cheat-charts from my 2014 project, and a cuppla Hungry Drunx charts, and basically had Mark (the drummer) start a beat, or I started playing the  note/chord notations from the paper, just using those and the lyrix as a guide to improvise the songs.

The results were spectacular.  In that manner we did nine songs, plus two improv’d songs (1 instrumental) and a version of a Hendrix choon I called, “Voodoobortion”.

We fuckin’ RAWKED!

We are better together this way then when I played guitar with Bob the bassist – my vocals are better when I play bass, and I can lead the song, also.

We don’t have a name yet, but me at 56, the drummer at 58, the new guitarist (Tom) at 65, I do believe we have a logo:


carpal diem!