Report from the Rock n’ Roll Trenches

The stars finally aligned for my band, AMERICAN FALCON, to get in the studio and at least lay down some basic tracks. That’s how I spent my weekend. We convened in the Rock Office, where we rehearse, on Friday night to get set up. Travis had a show with one of his other bands, Tom Catmull and the Clerics, that night, so we couldn’t go too late. Saturday morning we reconvened, finished the last little bit of setup then laid down the basic tracks for two songs: “Tallulah Black” and “When All Seems Lost We Shred.” Then we headed out so Travis could go play another show up in the Flathead with the Clerics.

This morning we hit the room at 11:00 AM to finish up. We were finished and packed up by 4:00 PM. The five remaining tracks that will go on the album are called, “The March of the Mexican Death Squad,” “Blood Drunk,” “Femme Fatale,” “The Falcon Kills Tonight,” and “The Beast of Bray Road.” We’re pretty excited for how it sounds so far.

Here are a few pictures I took of the gear.

The Command Center
The Bass Cabinet
Jimmy’s Pedal Board
The Freakin’ Rack
Vintage Ampeg Thunder Source
Matchless DC30 + Rivera Knucklhead + Marshall 4×12 = VOLUME
Travis Dialing It In

Oh, and for the uninitiated, what I mean by “basic tracks” is the first layer of the recording. Some bands record each instrument one-at-a-time by itself. We do it live style. We set up and play as a band all together, with each instrument isolated as much as possible so that one instrument doesn’t bleed into the mics of another. That gives us control of each individual track/channel, even though they are recorded simultaneously. We also record a “scratch” vocal, which is the lead vocal sung just for reference while we’re playing. It will ultimately be replaced by an overdubbed vocal using a much more high end microphone. So what we have now are seven songs using twelve tracks (each track represents a microphone; I think we used something like seven or eight on the drums, two on the bass, and two on the guitar). We will set the studio back up in Jimmy’s basement at his house since moving forward we don’t have to play as a full band again. We’ll overdub all the vocals and a few guitar parts. Maybe some other stuff too, who knows. We’ll get to that over the next few weeks. Hopefully the thing will be all wrapped up by October or so.

It was a lot of fun. I’m looking forward to hearing how it sounds when it’s complete.

5 thoughts on “Report from the Rock n’ Roll Trenches”

  1. I kinda don’t understand what’s going on with that kick drum. It looks like two kick drums pushed together?

    Also: is this in Jimmy’s garage?

    1. Yale, that’s exactly what it is. It’s a 30″ 40s-era marching bass drum pushed up against his 26″ kick drum. What it does is the sound pushed through the kick and into the marching drum and bounces around; the extra BOOM! and resonance it provides is really something to behold. It sound friggin’ awesome. I’d never seen that done before either.

      As for the location, Jimmy moved out of that house with the studio in the garage several years ago, and hasn’t rebuilt the studio up in his new casa. So when we record, we set up all the gear in our practice space, which happens to be the conference room at his office. It works pretty well, though it isn’t as sweet a setup as the studio was where we could record anything we wanted at the drop of a hat.

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