Break on Through
Break On Through: The live to two track experience with the, thankfully, the digital splice is the method used on my CD Someplace Different and again on Break On Through. Producer Brian Beattie, my old Austin neighbor devised this system back in 2002. I was the first to record an album with Brian in this manner. The guinea pig so to speak. So my life had just gone through a major shuffle and, truthfully, I was a bit down. But I thought that I needed some demos to shop. I approached Brian and told him that I needed some simple stuff for that purpose and he said 'Live to two track, I'm just getting that going' So we found a price and started the sessions that became Someplace Different. It felt so cool sitting in Valarie Beattie's artist studio while a snake ran the mic feeds into Brian's control room. He brought in some players and I did too and we all learned the songs as we went along. It was something magic. Brian was in out out of our play room switching mics and moving them around, directing the action then talking in out ear phones, encouraging and instructing. All in all it took about seven sessions to record the songs. We all knew all the time that there are no over dubs possible, no 'fix in the mix' just what we did. After the recording sessions Brian had to sit and listen and decide which takes might be spliced together to make a better record. And one one song,Westernman, he thought of more echo. We went to mastering where the edits and the echo for that song were added. These were the only thing's not exactly live. Afterwards I wasn't too hap[py with the song Inconsideration and I went back out to the mastering studio ands spent a another $400 on a song I could have left off. (I'd suggest that no one else do that). About two weeks later I moved to Guatemala where I sold a lot of these CDs and stayed alive. Then, back in the states and living now in Portland, it became time. Again to record with Brian. So down to Texas I went to enjoy the thrill of recording again. Brian had a new studio, a beautiful place made for the purpose. This time it went so smooth. We started with two mics on me and never changed them. There was just a little bit of finagling with the mics for the two guitarists and banjo player we used. And just a bit with the drummers stuff too. (We used a big cardboard box with a tambourine taped on it's top for the bass drum) and Brian played bass in the control room. (Turning knobs with his knees I guess). It sounded so good in there and we did it in a week. This time I listened and Brian listened and we came to agreements on how to edit. And we came up with what I'm sure is the best of my four CDs. In the studio Brian used all tube gear, microphones pre-amps, compressors, tape delays and tape !/4 tape machine. Just like 1954. I'd suggest that any body playing the roots kind of music that I do try this process. The immediacy of what happens is well worth any loss of over dubbing and over mixing and over working that occurs. It is exactly real.