Wednesday, May 25, 2011
I am sitting in an over sized brown leather chair, just a few feet behind the massive SSL sound board, in the control room of Hemispheres Recording Studio in North Hollywood. In the live room sits Charles Ruggiero behind the Yamaha kit banging away... getting levels of each separate drum, through each separate microphone, that is then connected to all separate tracks on the SSL board, and into the Pro Tools session that is Wall of Tom's new album.
Behind the sound board sits James Lugo, world renowned musician and brainchild of the 'Vocal Asylum'. James was a natural choice to track our drums since he and Charles have been working together for years now, and considering the vibe of these songs and Mr. Lugo's background in creating radio oriented sound, he fits better than a glove... not to mention his own air-drumming techniques are legendary.
Now over the speakers, a click enters the room, soon followed by guitar. My stomach flips a bit as my voice appears, but my oddity is soon overpowered by the feeling of amazement as soon as I hear the drums. Charles is amazing. Amazing is not even a word I should be using, but I really detest people who use the word 'phenomenal'. His groove is so groovy, his kick and snare are vibrating my ass off this chair. My senses are overwhelmed, and my mind is racing faster than my heart as he enters the crescendo... it's a complete mind fuck and I am enjoying the hell out of it.
At 4:12pm we are completely done with 7 of the 12 songs, and have begun the roll on the eighth. Charles and James have moved into their element and they are bouncing their ideas off us like bullets from a machine gun. This is what creation is all about, and their input is changing the arrangements of the songs, ever so slightly, taking them to the next level of cool.
It is now 5pm, and the songs have been flowing off Charles' sticks in record time... although he did call it at 10am, when we first started setting up, that we would be finished by 6. I think he may be right since we are now on the 11th song, and the energy is on high for this cover.
Yes, we are doing a cover for this album- and it is so obscure that if any of you can guess it- I'll give you a quarter. (and no family members that know the answer- you have been sworn to secrecy) As the song begins James is coaching Charles through the markers.. you know- verse, chorus, verse, bridge, stop.. and the dance he is doing with his cues is bringing Tony, Charles and I to tears... as a cheerleader I have done a lot of these moves and if we just had a set of pom-poms it would make this visual complete. I love recording, and this is just one prime example of why music should never be considered work because it is so much fun.
5:41- We are breaking down the drums and bouncing all the tracks back onto our drive. Really. I am still in shock, and although I have moved from this comfy chair many times today, it is here that I end my session before heading home. I am happy. I am overjoyed.
Now it's time for the bass. And the beat goes on...
Sunday, May 22, 2011
And so it begins... As the countdown has commenced, and I didn't get carried off by the Rapture- we will indeed begin the recording process this week. I was a bit worried for a moment, and then I said 'Oh what the hell!' Nothing is getting in the way of our new album!
I cannot even begin to tell you what these songs mean to me, each one in a different way, but it is sooo exciting for me to begin music once again. 12 songs. All bleeding from a different place. Wow, that sounded gory huh? No, but songs really do come from somewhere deep within and it is really cool to get them out of you, kinda like the childbearing thing.. but in a musical way.
We begin with Drums, and Charles Ruggiero has stepped into the ring. What a professional and wonderful human being this man is. It is such a joy to work with someone of his musical caliber, with a heart of gold- and we have so enjoyed this process of the album. I cannot wait to hear what Charles will do in the studio... And if those hand and chest slaps were any sign of what is to come, this album has one hell of a heartbeat.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
So this Mothers day was my very first… although I was pregnant on the last, but that only counts as harboring a child in my book.
On Saturday May 6th, I was invited to an event at the Redbury Hotel in Hollywood, to support Cirque du Soleils Founder Guy Laliberte's One Drop Foundation and hosted by our longtime friend, LA fashion designer Kelly Nishimoto.
It sounded like such fun to attend an event that my little dude could enjoy along with me… and I had not yet seen the new Redbury Hotel, so it was a win-win in every direction.
The Redbury was decorated in retro Hollywood classics, and I really enjoyed the vibrant colors (hot pink and grey are one of my favorite color combinations.) and a throwback style giving a nod to old Hollywood glamour and Rock royalty- Think Marilyn in Sepia tones and Mick in shades of black and white.
Not only was this event kid friendly with an 8 year old DJ spinning the beats, a performance by some incredibly talented and disturbingly flexible Cirque style performers, but it also had some mini Mommy Massages, yummy sparkling wine, and a ‘cute booty’ by Kelly Nishimoto gift bag. (To which I will honestly admit I have been wearing my ‘cute booty pants every day since.)
But the one thing that I realized on my very first Mothers day, was that all Mothers are the same, no matter what designer you are wearing, or who is working on what… we all cannot have more than one minute of eye contact, in any given conversation, because our eyes are always partially focused on our children. It is the most hilarious thing that I have noticed about Motherhood and I was so happy to be in a room of people who totally understand.
Mothers are amazing, and being one is amazing…Thank you Kelly for a very pampered afternoon.
Friday, May 6, 2011
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
In two weeks it begins.
My band Wall of Tom is about to set sail aboard the ship of creation. We have the bones. We have big ideas. I am really proud of these songs. It seems like we have been writing them for months now, and we have played them so many times over and over that they are seared in our minds forever this way... but soon we get to record them for reals.
For reals is in a studio where you begin at the start. Drums.
I must do a bit of a background for those of you who do not know the history of my band.
I started Wall of Tom back in 2001 and over the years I have been fortunate to play with some amazing musicians backing me, live and in the studio, for the past three albums I have made. I have always held onto the belief that if you always play with musicians who are better than you, then you yourself will be challenged into your own next phase of learning and growth. I can honestly say that I have become the artist that I am today because of the incredible musicians I have met and created music with.
Charles Ruggiero is one of them. Charles is more part of our chosen family than a collaborator in the past, even though we have recorded together before at our Sunday gatherings for shits and giggles.
But this album is different, it has a different feel, and a needs special touch...we know that we have put our songs in just the right hands, because Charles is one talented Mother F#cker. (No offense to the impending Mothers Day.)
12 songs... It begins with Drums. My Son approves.