After we scheduled and completed our first studio blocks, we found ourselves facing a delay that was unavoidable: Simon needed surgery to remove his tonsils, and as a result we had to spread out our scheduling over the spring and summer. We completed vocals and overdubs during this period and here are some of my favorite overdub highlights:
"Steal the Wind It's Free"
This song's bridge was initially a samba-style beat when it was written and worked out in our North Avenue sweatbox practice spot. By the time it made it to the studio, the bridge was a lot more fun - Aaron had written a fantastic syncopated bass lick and Jannotta had broken down the beat into a much more powerful hip hop style. In the studio, Jannotta and Kennedy (under the direction and vision of Jannotta) added shakers, clicks and djembes. As a final touch, I took my Ibanez delay and whammy bar to add that wirey guitar effect. Jannotta manually twisted the delay time knob to increase and magnify the choppy decay, which was especially present during the final few seconds of the song.
This song has a distinctive intro that was created practically on the fly in the studio. Mike and I had isolated some feedback that was a bit abrasive as well as in key with the song. We looped it a few times, and then had Kennedy come in and read some passages of a Winston Churchill speech in his best (and stunningly accurate) Churchill voice. So yea, that's Churchill...
This song had a guest musician who during the overdubbed guitar solo who was unfortunately unheralded until now: Francie the dog. Francie, along with Amanda, Alexis had come to visit the studio and provide some great homemade tacos to a hungry band. During a romp around the studio, our four legged friend decided to show off her guitar skills.
"Crossing the Bar"
Kennedy arranged and recorded this song all by himself. The lyric is an Alfred Lord Tennyson poem of the same name. He played the song solo with only an acoustic guitar and his voice in two perfect takes. He then added his own arrangement of harmonica, resulting in what I feel is one of the most moving tracks on the album.
"Experience by Osmosis"/ "I've been meaning to say"
Austin Mayer was my roommate at the time, and is a very talented and well-studied Jazz musician and saxophonist. We wrote the song "Experience by Osmosis" originally with me on piano and Kennedy on guitar, but that never translated well live (we've never used a piano on stage). When we brought it to the studio, I still wanted to keep a little piano in the bridge of the song in the bridge and we thought "wouldn't it be funny if we had some sax on here?" The bride was a half-time version of the same verse chords, initially featuring jazzy major 7th piano chords of the same progression, accentuated by Jannotta's loose drumming which made it seem slower than the rest of the song. I shared the rough demo with Austin who then wrote his own melody at home, later to come to the Manor and lay down his solo in about 4 takes. We were floored - it really added a new dimension to the song, as well as a nice surprise not only to people who knew Austin, but we hoped to music fans in general. Before he left, we had him try out some solos at the end of "I've been meaning to Say." It was late at this particular session, and we were getting tired but Austin's playing really seemed to fire up Mike who did a great job at getting Austin to play the wild string of notes that appear at the very end of the album.
So hopefully reading some of this will make listening to these tracks a bit more fun for you. Remember, you can download our album at Bullyinthehallway.com - you can download it for free or name your price! More updates about upcoming recording soon.