THE MAKING OF...
11 expressions of me
I began recording in November 1999 and started to develop a theme for the CD around March/April 2000 and I'm sure a lot of people can
appreciate it. There's a bunch of people who know me and have formed opinions about me -
good, bad, whatever - but do these people really know me? How many friends and co-workers
really know what makes you who you are - what motivates you, etc. I guess I was feeling a
little "misunderstood" at the time so here's my music - listen to it. It motivates me. I enjoy creating it. I
love playing guitar. Besides, instrumental
music communicates all kinds of emotions and expressions. These are 11 of my musical
expressions. These songs communicate things about me that a lot of people didn't know and that
I am unable to express with words.
I wasn't sure what to title the songs, but I knew I wanted some type of theme. Since I was
going to have the inserts black & white, I just gave each tune a color or pattern. Not all of the
song titles are random designations - I really think of the color "slate" when I listen to Slate.
So why is there 12 songs on a CD titled,
11 expressions of me? Well, about halfway through the recording process, I
decided I was going to do a song(s) with vocals/lyrics. Since it's a lot easier to do a cover
than write a new song with lyrics, a melody, etc., I figured I'd do a favorite AC/DC song of mine.
As I was trying to
sing over it, I realized that there was no way I could do Let's Get It Up justice vocally, so I
turned it into an instrumental. And since it's not my song, it doesn't exactly fall under the
description of 11 expressions of me, so I made it a
hidden bonus song.
Well, unlike the last CD, 11 expressions of me was
recorded in just one place, my home studio - Clairemont - in Virginia. Before I started this CD, I decided
to do a couple of things differently, that hopefully, have found their way to the finished
1) Record one song at a time - period. On man makes plans
and God laughs, I typically worked on 2-3 songs at any given time. In retrospect,
I feel it's better to concentrate on one tune at a time.
2) Concentrate more on song writing over guitar playing. Bottom line: Write better songs and
quit worrying about trying to play killer solos and things like that. I feel that the solos on
11 expressions of me fit the songs better than on
man makes plans
and God laughs.
3) Go for more of a "polished" sound and less one-take tracks and "emotional" takes. For this
CD, I doubled and bounced a lot of tracks and I labored long and hard over many of the tracks. Here's
an example - if a simple rhythm guitar track on man makes plans
and God laughs took 2-3 takes, the same track would have taken me
10-15 takes on 11 expressions of me.
4) No sequencers this time. I sold my Roland PMA-5. I make every noise, except for the drums,
which are courtesy of my Alesis SR-16 drum machine.
Thankfully, I feel these improvements can be heard on the CD.
Let's Get It Up*
I recorded and mastered Chocolate over the July 4th holiday weekend, 2000... probably the "heaviest" tune I've ever done... as with Lime, I used the Carvin Bolt's Trilogy bridge to tune down - way down... C G C G B E... I also tuned the bass down... extremely simple song to record...
GEAR--I used the Carvin Bolt for all of the guitar tracks, except for the little solo, where I used the Hohner G3T... my POD gave me the heavy distorted tone, which I doubled on the Carvin... I tuned the ESP Jazz down to C G D G... great tone on the bass for this one... mono drums... the intro is three guitars - one is flanged, one is phased and the other has heavy chorus... I play the phased guitar at a low level throughout the entire song... it's hard to notice that's it's there, but you'd notice if it wasn't... the chorused guitar is fittingly played over the song's chorus sections... the distorted guitars are faded out pretty well, leaving the doubled chorused guitars with the phased guitar & the bass...
Cyan was the last song recorded for the CD, in August... it's also the shortest song, clocking in at 2:36... it's an upbeat tune, reminding me of an early Stones' song with its vibe... I love the backing chords during the solo - that's got to be one of my favorite breaks on the CD... I started recording Cyan with heavy, distorted guitar tones, but it seemed kinda empty, so I re-did the guitar tracks with a more mellow, chorused tone and now it has a little twang...
GEAR--I used my Hohner for the verse and chorus parts, which were doubled... I used my Kramer Baretta for the solo... a little bit of my Yamaha keyboard appears and the bass is the ESP Jazz... my original plan was to use as many different guitars as I could on this song - since it was the last to be recorded - but as I started to do that, the song sounded "fragmented"... that neck pickup on the Hohner always gets a good, clean tone...
I wrapped up Drab in May 2000... I'm very pleased with the guitar tone on this track - it
has kind of a "Ratt-sounding" intro to it... I used heavy reverse gate reverb on the drum tracks...
overall, the song has kind of a thick, syrupy-sounding tone to it... you can hear my doubled background vocals during the 2nd and 3rd verses... the solo is ripped
from Patience - a song I recorded for Foam Tide's Bovine Madness tape (1988)... I really like the building intro
to this song, so I decided to put it near the beginning...
GEAR--the guitar on the intro is my Red Devil II, it's only appearance on the CD... other guitars used are my Kramer Floyd Rose, Kramer
Ripley, Washburn BT-5, Hohner G3T, Peavey EVH Wolfgang Special, and Charvel CHS-3... the
Wolfgang Special served up the solo... the Hohner was played through my Boss AC-2 Acoustic Simulator...
I used my ESP Jazz Bass for the bass track... my Yamaha keyboard provided the organ/vox solo and
the vox background patch throughout the tune... that me singing the "ahhhs" during the verses, as close
as I want to get to singing on a CD...
recorded during January 2000... it features my Carvin Bolt guitar with an alternative tuning...
has kind of a jazzy/rock sound, thanks to the doubled guitar tracks... its upbeat, summery feel
made me think of the title Lime... fits as good as any color... I'm very pleased with the combination of
sounds throughout the tune and the solo break is just that - it provides a nice change of pace...
I considered opening the disc with this song...
GEAR--my Carvin Bolt, with the Hipshot Trilogy tuning bridge provided me with a variation
on the open E tuning - E B E G# B D#... I played the Bolt dirty on the left and clean on the right to give the song some depth...
this is the only guitar used on the track, except for my
Yamaha APXT-1N which I used for the solo... the bass is courtesy of the Fender... I used my
Yamaha keyboard for the organ patch during the choruses...
the second song I recorded... finished in November 1999... features a miked faucet (in stereo!)
during the intro/outro and my trusty popcorn shaker in the choruses... the sound of the rushing water
made me think of panning gold for some reason... I guess a blue color was too obvious... has sort of an industrial
feel to it... short and to the point... no solo break whatsoever... the melody guitar has almost
a Middle East-sound to it, thanks to the pitch shifter... great interaction between the two guitar
tracks, the bass and the melody guitar track...
GEAR--my Scootercaster and Danelectro 59-DC provide the left and right rhythm tracks,
respectively... I used my Ernie Ball Music Man EVH to play the melody which pans left to right...
the Dano and Music Man each have the pitch shift on...
the bass sound is via a Flintstones guitar synth patch... I recorded the guest bathroom water
faucet (left and right) for the intro and outro... there's nothing like the sound of running
water with gated reverb...
recorded in Febraury 2000, right after I got back from Japan... kind of an unusual song with the AM radio intro... occasionally, I pick up radio stations with my
Fostex recorder (don't ask me how) and it gave me this idea... I recorded the intro guitar track
into my Sony micro-cassette recorder to give it that AM-quality sound... good rock song with
a good guitar solo... a catchy chours, too... immediately after the first chorus, there's a rattling-type
noise before verse 2 kicks in... that's one of those spring door stops... the song is a little long, but overall I'm really happy with it...
GEAR--I recorded real AM traffic off my Sony alarm radio... the guitar for the verse is my trusty Scootercaster, with the Scootercaster being
doubled with the Charvel for the chorus... I used my Hohner for the verse immediately after
the solo break... bass is the Fender... the drum track is in mono for this song... I can't remember
why, although it must be because I was running out of tracks... the organ during the chorus and solo break
is courtesy of my guitar synth (Flintstones)... the popcorn shaker makes another appearance...
all of the drum "fills" were done manually... the solo, which I am very pleased with, was done
on my black Peavey EVH Wolfgang... I purposely put in some AM static behind the guitar outro
before the song fades out...
completed in June 2000... I actually wrote this tune around the bass track, which I recorded
before any guitar tracks... I play a real-life harmonica during the solo break... I specifically
wrote the solo break in C/G so my key of C harmonica would fit in... the wah guitar patch on my
Boss ME-30 makes its debut... the bass is recorded in stereo... it's a fast-paced, upbeat song
that I originally thought would be near the beginning...
GEAR--I used my Fender Squier Precision Bass for the stereo bass tracks... the wah guitar
is my Epiphone 335 Dot (bridge) and Hohner (chorus)... the guitar playing the melody during the
verse is my Washburn... the Dot plays the heavily delayed part immediately after the bridge...
my Kramer 'Flintstones' Smithtone makes an appearance via the background guitar synth
during the chorus... my Hohner harmonica debuts during the solo - that definitely was a 10-take
attempt... after three attempts, I was finally successful in writing a tune around this drum track
from the Alesis... the starting and stopping of the song near the end was all done manually and took
a lot of practice to come in at the right time...
Indigo has to be one of my favorite songs on this CD... I recorded it over March/April 2000, and it took
practically the whole month to do... I know, it sounds like a Led Zeppelin ripoff (Babe I'm Gonne Leave You)
during the intro, but oh well... the bass really stands out on this one... the intro and chorus is taken from
the intro to Six Days (Foam Tide - Bovine Madness), which didn't make it on the last CD... the color indigo
is a rich blueish purple and this song is rich in melody and tone (right?)...
GEAR--I used my Epiphone Joe Pass Emperor II (now sold) for the intro (left/right) with my Yamaha
nylon featured over it... the flanged guitar is my Jackson JTX... I played my Scootercaster and
Charvel through the Boss Acoustic Simulator... bass by Fender... the solo is courtesy of the Joe
Pass... a little bit of keyboard from the Yamaha during the bridge and solo break... it doesn't sound like
an intricate and difficult song, but it was...
the fourth song I recorded, finished in December 1999... I wrote this song back in the late 80s and
it was on Foam Tide's Committment To Annoying Behavior tape as 4th Down Friday (1990)...
it's pretty much exactly the same as the original, except the ending is a little different... the
heavily distorted guitar is also heavily delayed... I thought the title Checkered best described
the content of this song... the bass and guitars really get into a groove during the outro...
GEAR--I used my Music Man EVH for the left chorus and my black Wolfgang for the
right chorus... my Charvel, Flintstones and black Wolfgang made up the verse sections... I used
the Bolt for the solo break background, while my Ibanez Destroyer was responsible for the solo's
lead AND the delayed intro... Fender bass... popcorn shaker... some nasty harmonics toward the end, thanks to my Boss
Slate was recorded on my Yamaha PSR-48 keyboard...
it's probably the only song on the CD where the name is close to representing the song's
expression... it has kind of a background mood music feel to it... almost depressing, yet hypnotic...
it was the third song I recorded - back in December, but I decided to scrap that version and I totally
re-did it in July... the second version is much shorter and sounded much better to me...
GEAR--as mentioned above, all the keyboard parts are from the Yamaha... Alesis provided
the drums and my ESP Jazz was used for the bass... I had two different solos over the fading ending, but they really didn't fit so I scrapped them...
this is my favorite song on the disc... was also the first I recorded, back in November 1999...
short, simple and to the point... nice solo with the French horns, courtesy of the guitar synth...
I love the rotary guitar patch (thanks POD!)... I had three names for this before I settled on
Azure... no bass on this song... I either wanted to put this song first or last...
you can hear me say, "one time, one time..." during the intro... my keys (car, house, mail) are
what makes the jingling noise during the intro...
I did something unusual with this song - I doubled the guitar parts with a miked version... it turned
out pretty cool... the flanged guitar is my Hohner and the rotary guitar is the Scootercaster...
no bass... the keyboard during the chorus is my Yamaha and the organ during the solo break is
my guitar synth (Flintstones)... my Flintstones guitar synth is also responsible for the French
horns during the solo... my Danelectro (distorted) also makes an appearance near the end...
12 -Let's Get It Up*
one of my all-time favorite AC/DC songs... from their 1981 release, For Those About To Rock
We Salute You... pretty easy to play on guitar... I originally wanted to have vocals on it...
yeah, right... I started to sing and it sounded pretty bad... I don't have the same voice as Brian
Johnson (thankfully)... so here I was, I had all the basic tracks recorded for it and I realized
that vocals made it suck... I could have scrapped it, but I worked it into a pretty good
instrumental and thought I'd throw it on here... recorded over April/May 2000...
the guitar on the left side is my Danelectro and I doubled the right side with my Washburn
and Charvel... I used the Bolt as an extra "mellow-sounding" guitar track over the bridge and
chorus... I used the Epiphone Dot for the flanged parts over the verses... ESP Jazz Bass for that AC/DC "muffled" bass sound... popcorn shaker... mono drums... Ibanez Destroyer for the Angus Young-wannabe
solos... AC/DC would be proud - no keyboards!
* written by Young, Young & Johnson 1981
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