Thursday, July 18, 2013


Before I go into the particulars of our weekend recording session I want to thank those of you that made it possible through your donations. 
It's time to mix the 3 songs we have recorded and therefore I ask those of you that haven't donated to please consider doing so. We are at that point where we will need cash in order to move forward.

 Please help me realize my goal: first studio sessions (and hopefully full album) with the Garage Orchestra arrangements since 1996!

PayPal Donation Button on right > 


Before our first day of recording I met up with Lee Ray and Renata Bratt at their digs in Santa Monica. They'd driven all the way down from Santa Cruz. My drive up from San Diego took only a few hours but I spent a good deal of time packing up the guitars and the 6 foot long metallic Wall Heater into my little Toyota Corolla. Somehow it all fit in.

Lee Ray and Justin going over sounds and tones. Lee came down from Santa Cruz to engineer the sessions for us. He is the recording/sound genie at  Open Path Recording Studios

Getting' ready to play Horsepower. We set up the Wall Heater and Nelson starting wailing on it. And I mean wailing

Here he is perfecting the Horsepower beat on the Sonic Monolith. Nelson Bragg and I met while he was on tour playing percussion for Brian Wilson (this past year he did the Beach Boys tour!). I was back stage hanging out with Brian's band, I met most of them over the years via mutual musical persuasions, and there was Nelson offering to play music with me one day. It took about 10 years, but here we see the day finally arrived.

Randy Hoffman has played vibraphone or percussion with me since before Garage Orchestra came out in 1994. He was mentored by one of America's great avant garde composers, Harry Partch. Randy played with the Partch Ensemble for 20 years playing some of the toughest instruments to bring forth noise : Cloud Chamber Bowls, The Bloboy, Quadrangularus Reversum...Randy told me the Bass Marimba was really dang huge and tough to play.

My long time friend Paula Luber has sub'd for Randy on some tours in recent years so I decided we might as well have two vibraphones playing at once. Later we had Nelson come in and all three of them were on the vibes at once. It was a rather Steve Reich moment. 

David's recording studio and it's fine array of musical toys. This photo was taken the night before we began recording and I'm pretty knackered. I'd spent the afternoon packing bags for LA, guitars, getting my son to his 4-day-sleep-over (thank you Hahms and Nena Andersen!), and foisting the 6ft Wall Heater into my Corolla. No small feat for 3 weeks out of surgery. 

I'm feeling much better, almost 4 weeks from appendectomy, I'm walking 2 1/2 miles and I did Four sit-ups today...(ha!)...I held my own in those 10 hour studio sessions.

Renata Bratt and David in the control room playing parts for Horsepower. Renata and Randy and I began playing music together back in 1993 and recorded two studios albums as the Garage Orchestra. Then Renata moved away. Now and then I spirit her back to Southern California or off on a tour or into the studio.... Such was the case here. She was the one take wonder. 

Congratulations to my friend and co-producer David Schwartz for his nomination for "Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score)"
on Arrested Development

David is one of those rare birds that has had success in the field of music and is actually a really nice guy. He doesn't have to be, he's done so much good stuff. But he is. 
You can find David's music on the theme to Deadwood and the score to Northern Exposure as well as A.D.

Besides that, he has an amazingly lovely family. His daughter, singer-songwriter Lucy Schwartz, sang harmony with me on I Like Cats/You Like Dogs. She has a new album coming out in August and they were filming a music video on another part of the property while we were recording, starring animals. So it was an animal day.

Randy kickin' back by the Cardboard Box, which lead us through 2 of the 3 songs this past weekend. We recorded 3 songs in 3 days. Not bad. I can't wait to play it for you guys.

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