Behind the Music

We went into Prize Beagle on Saturday afternoon for our first session with Adam, our friend and fellow musician who was also the mastermind/producer/engineer for our world-famous “Why Don’t You Go? (Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh Oh!)” recording, featuring the Hoyne Street Legion of Doom Choir (you can hear that and many more here or here). Adam is obsessed with hockey and paintings of Snoopy on black velvet, and I will have pictures up here soon to prove it. Anyway, the studio is one of the nicer ones I’ve been in, in terms of space and comfort, and is located around the corner from where I am working these days, near the shadow of the Holy Name Cathedral. An appropriate setting for a holy man such as I.

MaM went in with around 10-12 songs or ideas that we’ve been working on and playing for a while, and at this point it is a mystery as to what we will end up with. We threw down most of those songs in a pre-production session Saturday and then listened to everything and picked them apart. Even put a couple of covers in there for shits and giggles. Not all of the songs have titles but here’s some of the things we have scribbled on our marker board:

“Argument to End the World”
“Less Love, More Acid”
“Kristol Ball”
“The Leaning Tower of Astigmatism”
“Lost Hi-Way”

And a couple of others with working titles such as “Augustine” and “TM.” And a few untitled ones, or unfinished ones. We’re also planning on re-recording a couple of songs (“Greatest of the World” is one), and like I said, a couple of covers that may or may not see the light of day.

Now, I don’t know much about recording–well, OK, I did some recording in my days down in the basement at Hoyne Street with ADATs and a little bit of 8-track reel-to-reel, but if you ask me anything I can’t really explain much. Same with guitars and amps. After a show recently a guy came up and started asking about my guitar and humbuckers and I was just nodding and finally had to say “yeah, I don’t know, I just plug it in and play the thing.” You using a 220? Yeah, 220, 221, whatever it takes.

At Prize Beagle we are recording on a Studer A80 1″ 8-track analog recorder, which is nice because I had vinyl on my mind when we went in; my hope is to be able to press some records, a limited edition at least, with this project. Warmth is what we’re going for on this recording; that, and breakthrough rock and roll sounds to burn you down to your very soul.

So anyway, Saturday went from around 3pm til close to midnight or so and we left things set up to lay down tracks on Sunday. Everyone was hungry so we walked around the Chicago/State St. area looking for somewhere to eat and drink, and after a couple of misses we found a bar whose name I cannot recall, but I keep thinking it’s something like “Gordon Lightfoot.” Garrity something? I don’t know, but it’s close by, I’ll find out. We ate giant burgers and sandwiches and drank Shiner Bocks (welcome to Chicago!) and felt like out-of-towners.

We went back on Sunday afternoon and started in on the real recording, with Rick on bass and Eric on drums in the main room and me standing in the control room playing guitar straight into the board and singing. We cut about three songs (bass and drums) and called it by 7 o’clock. Then they brought in the hookers and blow and from there things get a little hazy…hey! Wait a minute! What happens at Prize Beagle stays at Prize Beagle!

Next up: The Tuesday Night Session.

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