Of Hard Work, Crotch Mikes and 'Deuce Bigalow'

Part two of our four part

series on the making of

an album: In the studio

Making a rock 'n' roll album is a bit like running a road-race naked. For one, endurance is a must: the 18 days, 12 to 14 hours a day, take their toll on both body and spirit. Furthermore, one is constantly exposed. Every inch of tape is previewed, reviewed, whistled at and at times, rejected. It is, essentially, a nudie marathon. Of course, in more literal terms, studio time amounts to standing around, mostly clothed, playing and listening to minute musical parts over and over again. Not quite as glamorous as a nudie-marathon, you say? Settle down. It was just a metaphor.

Welcome back to Recording: a four-part series. In the previous segment, I characterized the organizational process of pre-production. Let us now enter the studio.

The first notes I played with the tape rolling at Fort Apache Studios were not good ones. I plucked at my bass as it I'd never seen it before. My hand had fallen asleep.

"Okay...well. Everyone should relax. It's sounding tense. Not very good a-tall," our producer and engineer Matthew Ellard informed us in his British accent. This was an understatement. He pointed to the Christmas lights that hung up on the wall. Some had been wound into the shape of a heart and blinked rhythmically on and off, much like my motor-skill coordination seemed to. We dimmed the lights some. Okay, relax.