Recording or " Do I really sound like that?"

In the last segment, I talked about practice sessions and how if the band was working on a new number we would give this composition a working title so we wouldn't forget. You might ask, " Well, why didn't somebody just record it?" My brother Tom did have a Craig two channel reel to reel tape recorder. So, sometimes we would record rehearsals but the acoustics and cheap mics would give a distorted sound and nobody thought about sound proofing or how loud we should be playing. In 1969 April, our Manager, David Lonie, scheduled us to do a recording session with a recording outfit called Audio Alley. He secured the use of The Matrix Club during the day when the club was closed and the engineer used the 4 track system that many live performances were captured by different entertainers & bands. Most recently, recordings that were made of The Velvet Underground when they toured in 1969 were recorded there. So, we arrived around noon and set up the amps and drum set on the stage. We watched the engineer set up the mics to record the drums and then at some point he told us to play something to get a sound level. None of us were wearing head phones and the vocal recording mic that I used was not being fed to an amplifier so, I couldn't actually hear myself. As a result, I blew out my voice screaming during the sound check. The engineer came out at least three times from the booth to tell us," You're too loud! Turn down!" I remember at one point the drummer said," If you guys get any softer, I'll have to play with pencils instead of drum sticks." But, we did the best we could and recorded about eight songs. I can only listen to two of them because the vocals are strained and I'm somewhere between a rasp and a croak like I'm about to expire before the next take. We were all pretty green and not very experienced. It would have been nice to say, " hey, let's go back and re-do the vocal tracks at another time." The overall mood of the band was that it wasn't a good session. When we heard the play back, it didn't sound as bad as we thought instrumentally but the vocals were painful for me to listen to. Nothing much came from the session in terms of letting anyone else hear it and we chalked it up to a learning experience and hoped to do a better one later on down the road. However, that didn't happen. 

Leave a comment

    Add comment