So now that most of the tracking is done it is time to get a few people in to add their personality to some of the tunes. Overall we have been looking to do pretty much everything with the band that we have and I have been able to add a few very simple guitar and keyboard overdubs. ‘Here Comes the Sadist’ was one of the first songs we put down and after adding a few extra guitars, clavinets and percussion we were still looking for something for the solo. Very early in the tracking process Zac had illuminated me to ‘Serge the Sexy Sax Man’. Needless to say I was incredibly impressed. Here’s one of his ‘performances’ and it is well worth checking out before you read on………
So, obviously inspired by Serg we decided that sax it was. During the 80s the sax was given a horrible name by numerous beefcakes and big haired cheeseballs that drenched it in reverb and made it into some kind of faux romantic hitmaker. Don’t forget it was the lead guitar of the fifties. Back in 1989 Lenny Kravitz put out an album called ‘Let Love Rule’ on which there was a saxophone solo which is magnificent. No schmaltzy effects to add atmosphere, just beautifully played and placed notes that drip with soul. Zac and I had conspired to convince Joe that sax would be a GOOD IDEA. He took some convincing, but we toiled hard and finally he relented and got in touch with Karl Denson who had played the solo on ‘Let Love Rule’. Karl was up for it and came up from San Diego on the train. An absolute gentleman who, within a couple of minutes of meeting him was talking about quarks and the God Particle. It’s such a relief to meet people who can play at his level and not feel the need to namedrop who played the xylophone part on a rare Stooges B side but talk about things other than music. So Karl got in there and let rip. It was such a joy to hear someone play with so much soul from the first pass through the song. He played through a few times, applied any of the changes we asked for with total grace and was done. Check out his band Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe here.
There were a few songs that required a horn section and we asked Danny T Levin to put together some arrangements for us. So we ended up with a section playing parts on ‘Call You Home’, ‘Limbo Stick’ and ‘Battleships’. I love recording horns and adding the throatiness of trombones and baritone sax to flesh out where guitars can’t reach. ‘Call You Home’ sounds particularly epic now that we have added low brass blasts to the outro to take it to 11. And ‘Limbo Stick’ has a stuttering Blood Sweat and Tears style horn part that completes the song and lifts the final chorus when the trumpets colour it. We also got Roger Manning to come in and add some extra synth and keyboard parts towards the end of the session. Again, an absolute gentleman and a fine player. He put some synth sounds onto ‘Grow Around You’ and we built a swell that would eventually be tacked onto the beginning of ‘Tell Me How it Ends’ and be the first thing you hear on the album.
Finally we had a trio of incredible singers. Arnold McCuller has sung on dozens of records so we got him to put together a few people. Valerie Pinkston and Bridgette Bryant joined Arnold and put some finishing touches to ‘Tell Me How It Ends’ and ‘Grow Around You’. For me to see people who can sing so effortlessly and with such an easy natural spirit is such a joy. We all had a ball watching and listening to these guys argue about food and what we were going to eat when they were done.
Ok so next update I will fill you in on the final few songs we recorded and be able to start giving you an idea of when this record is going to come out. I am in the process of putting together a newish band and looking forward to getting into some rehearsal and letting rip on some of these new songs.