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Thursday, October 30, 2014

THIS IS THE PROPHECY.....RECORDING.......PART 3 OF A 5 PART CLASS

After working on over 50 records, countless singles, and several live recordings, I admit it's pretty easy for me to set up. There is a method to this madness and you can choose several paths to find your way. You can choose to make to difficult. You can choose to make it smooth. I have experienced it all. I choose smooth. Add the layers as they progress. Stop when it's good. Even Leonardo Da Vinci still be changing the Mona Lisa....

My Discography...

You know who...

After calling in your troops, the gear gets loaded into its appropriate room. Usually there are chambers to record guitars, bass, drum rooms to track drums and the vocal chamber. Max always sets up a private area in the vocal chamber. Sometimes it is elaborate, sometimes simple.


Vocal Booth

Max's private table

Guitar rack..

The crew spends the first day getting sounds for the recording. You need to zero in on the guitar, bass, and drum tones that you want on the record. The crew and musicians all work this out together, after the gear is all set up. Max's longtime friend, famous percussionist, Meia Noite, from Brazil, also flew in for the recording. He was on tour as percussionist for Sergio Mendez. Mia brought many cases of the craziest instruments and some I was familiar with. The salt and pepper shakers for The Prophecy had arrived!


Meia Noite with gear



The Salt Mine Studio in Mesa was Max's choice for the recording. It is only about an hour from our home, and he worked there for Primitive. Don Salter, the owner, is a perfect host and takes great care of you, besides having top of the line gear. Max worked with John Gray for some time on Primitive, and they would develop a close relationship, during The Prophecy, and work with many more times in the future.


Max and John Gray at the board...

Leo, Kenny, Newbe and Fatty chillin'

I bought a dry erase board to chart the recording on. We make these on each record and yes, we have many of them stored away. I usually frame and glass them so they preserve...but back to the class...


The Prophecy board

Max decided to record track by track, instead of instrument by instrument. He has recorded both ways and both are fine. Drums are first; the layers climb on after...rhythm guitars, bass, leads, percussion and mix the vocals in when you can so the singer doesn't have to sing the whole record straight. Max will do up to 3 songs a day, occasionally more, but it's nice to add them here and there with a powerhouse session, at the end. Also, he brings in the guest musicians a bit later, when their songs are completed.


Max, Marc, and Joe

Meia Noite and Kenny recording

And you know who was always there........

Igor


Class dismissed....

Friday, October 24, 2014

THIS IS THE PROPHECY...PRE-PRODUCTION...PART 2 OF A 5 PART CLASS...

With his 4 trax in hand, Max went into a home studio in north Phoenix to record a demo. He had some ideas for a song about Al Qaeda, and wanted Danny Marianino from The Northside Kings to knock it out of the park with him. Rather than fly in Bobby Burns, Danny suggested using Tom Reardon, the NSK's bass player. Joe Nunez came into Phoenix, though.


Al Qaeda

First thing first, work on the song......... The guys met at the jam pad and I will tell you, the song was a riot to work on! Everyone was laughing their butts off at Danny, who has a gilded sense of humor! We met him during the recording of the acclaimed Nailbomb release, Proud To Commit Commercial Suicide.. He is the funny New Jersey dude Max played a phone prank on, on the track, While You Sleep, I Destroy Your World. Little Igor also was glued to this recording process and accompanied Max every step of the way. Must have been secretly filing this knowledge away for use in his Moldbreaker and Lody Kong ways....




Joe and Max outside jam pad




Igor

Max and Danny

Danny and Tom

Villain Studios with Byron Filson at the pro tool's ground zero, was the next stop. Byron is super busy and it is difficult to book time because he has none, but this time we were lucky! His studio is also only a mile or so from our Phoenix home, and this made it super convenient! We filled up the Suburban and cruised over. I left a big pot of my Famous Chile simmering on the stove at our home...a fave of Danny's...



Byron
Recording was smooth as Asha Rabouin's voice on Tree of Pain! Our friends, crew and family all marched into pre-production...our Tribe must always be near!! Mark Pringle, formerly in Errata X, was in town visiting from his home in Scotland, so Max threw him on the track too. He sings in the chorus with Max and Danny. We all played Wild Animalonopoly with Igor...





Leo and Joe setting drums up

Joe

Max recording

Danny recording

Mark Pringle

Igor playing Monopoly

Fatty plays Monopoly too..

After the guys were done and Max satisfied with the process, we went to our home and I surprised Danny with my Magical Chile fest.....time for fun!!! We all knew what was next....tracking at the Salt Mine Studio...but for now, Danny still had us cracking up....those damn tales...





Class dismissed....

Thursday, October 16, 2014

THIS IS THE PROPHECY...THE INSPIRATION....Part 1 of a 5 part story...

In 2003, Max, Zyon, Igor, Spanky and me went for a drive to the northern desert of Arizona. Max was looking for inspiration for the Soulfly record he had been planning in his head. We decided to get a room in Flagstaff at the Embassy Suites because they are dog friendly. There are also quite interesting Indian dwellings and geological formations throughout Arizona. We had already hit up the cliff dwellings, the river of lava and the Grand Canyon. We thought we would head towards the Painted Desert and see what we could run into.


Max, Igor, and Spanky resting up before the Big Adventure!

Painted Desert, AZ

We eventually came upon Meteor Crater. We were amazed to learn this was the suspected crater of one of the meteors that changed the entire world's climate and wiped out many species of life forms. It was unbelievably huge!!! Definitely beyond the scope of our imagination!!! It seemed like the kind of place where you were going to get bit by a rattlesnake or scorpion! They had a museum that we spent some time in. I was surprised to see they included moldovite from Czech Republic, of which I have a few pieces.

Back to Phoenix after hitting up the Petrified Forest and several rock formations on the way. The Arizona Desert is serene and magical! Not so with our bedroom.......



Max, Igor, and Zyon
Zyon


Crater site

Max had decided to move from writing the record in the kitchen, to writing it in the bedroom. When I saw the gear going in, I knew it would be quite some time before I would be able to catch a night's sleep in there! Soon, there would only be a crawlspace to grab clean clothes for the day.... I relocated to the living room. Max protested for a couple days but then realized he needed sleep too and before long, he had moved in on the sofa bed too!


Recording setup.. 





I knew things were getting serious in the creativity department when I saw the ESP guitar leaning against the pool fence. It was painted gold...by a cheap can of spray paint...the strings too. Whoa...some deep shizzle was going through Max's brain......again.........






Class dismissed....


Friday, October 10, 2014

MOM, IS THAT SEAN LENNON SLEEPING ON THE BED??

On the Primitive album, Max was very experimental. What other cd in the world has Tom Araya, Corey Taylor, Chino Moreno, a hip hop band (Cutthroat Logik), screeching Grady Avenoll, and Sean Lennon...and a gospel singer? It was electric at the Salt Mine Studio!

We met Sean Lennon on an airplane, flying to concerts in Australia, called Big Day Out. He was writing in a journal and drawing sketches. I was writing in mine and wondering why I had never sketched... He was instantly bonded with Max, talking about music, family, the tour. Sean bought Zyon, who was quite young at the time, a stuffed platypus.


We hung out backstage and Max and Sean built a friendship. When Max asked him to collaborate on Primitive, it was natural. I was the one who was freaked out..Sean wanted to stay in our home!
I called him and fished around, asking what he liked to eat. When he replied hotdogs, I was super relieved!! A real person!!! I was nervous I would not be able to host him in the manner I thought he was used to. I was very wrong!

Sean and Max

Sean was one of the coolest human beings to grace our home. He was simple, graceful, polite and artistic. He was one of the family in 5 minutes. He has this slight of hand twist to the fuss ball game that I have never seen replicated. Zyon is about the closest imitator of this slapshot, since he was eye level with the table when Sean was at our Bloomfield home.

We all cruised to our mountain house, where Max and Sean wrote Son Song, in the tiny studio. 6 acres of serenity....



Back at our home, Sean took a nap in our room. When he got up, he saw where Dana, Christina, Max and me had written on a piece of the wall. I was a bit buzzed and lecturing one night after a Helmet show and said blah, blah. blah,...... "We are what we are..." Dana egged me to write it on the wall and I figured what the hell... Christina signed it later and then Max. Now, Sean Lennon was asking me if he could sign it...what the heck could I say? All I could think was "Dana would be trippin...."

Class dismissed....

Thursday, October 2, 2014

LET'S TAKE A VACATION AND LOOK FOR PETER TOSH'S MOM....

Some years back, after Max and I got kidnapped in Jamaica...you never heard? Thats another story... Anyway, we had been on a difficult schedule. Starting over, with nothing at all in our ballpark, wasn't easy. No contract. no band name, no band, no music, no crew...nothing. He barely even had gear, other than a few items he had used on the Roots tour. But..we had each other and our family and that is where we found strength. Max wrote and created and I got on the phone and made a plan. A couple years later, we were on our way with Soulfly.

It wasn't easy juggling the family and work. It took every minute and in between, I was a part-time detective, solving Dana's death. We needed to re-group and what better place than Jamaica!!!!
We found a small beach home that was for rent and grabbed it up. Lots of open air bedrooms, a private beach, even our own island!! We didn't expect it to be as nice as it was...it was like the cherry on top of a big oozy sundae..




We didn't realize we were walking into a dream! A butler, maids, chefs, gardeners, a fully spiced crib at our disposal!! Breakfast, lunch and dinner each at its own outdoor location, each an event, being served our meals like royalty! We weren't accustomed to this treatment! In the afternoon, we would pile into the van and cruise the island. We visited Bob Marley's home (9 miles), his mausoleum, Trenchtown, the Bob Marley Museum, all corners of Jamaica. We even drove through the mystical Fern Gully! In Trenchtown, some on-the-street-dude put his fingers in the air like a gun and acted like he was shooting Max...fitting.
Breakfast time!



Zyon, and Igor

We even met Peter Tosh's Mom at her home when we visited Peter's grave. Mom was just chilling outside. Some dude there asked Max why he only had one queen.

Me, Mama Tosh, and Max

The only mishap was a runaway jet ski with 2 young boys on it. It actually drove right over the kayak Max and little Igor were floating in! If Igor hadn't been tiny and laid down in the seat space, he would be an angel today. It's all fun and games till someone looses an eye...
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Igor

Max and Igor sleeping after the wreck

Saying good bye to everyone was rough. Max and I went with our friend to check out his land up on a hill. It is there that Max will write a masterpiece one day...when the time is just right... In a little house meant for music, with people whose hearts are still raw and oblivious to the politics of music.....all in good time...

Mark, Bunny and his daughter  
Me, Bunny and kids in the bush. 

Class dismissed....