Thursday, March 13, 2008


We are ready to go into the recording studio! It has been a full work week for ConFused5. Actually it has been two work weeks in one for the guys in the band. All the guys work for a living so rehearsing every available minute has meant that they have been working two jobs this week. I don't know how much their straight jobs take out of them, but I've been working them pretty hard and I think that we will peak at the right time to record a good solid album.

As I've written before, ConFused5 is a collaboration of diverse characters. Herbert is a full time music instructor and a consummate musician of the highest order. He has a great deal of experience in writing and arranging, plays keyboard and wind instruments and is a fine, classically trained tenor about town. And if you know anything at all about Salzburg, being a tenor in this town is no joke. His musical vocabulary is extensive and I get a kick out of him throwing out classical bits and pieces between C5 songs.

On bass and vocals, Kurt is the guy out in front. Kurt has been all over the world as a multi-instrumentalist and is laying down the fat-ass bottom end as well as sharing lead vocal responsibilities with Herbert. C5 is fortunate to have two excellent singers who have very different singing styles and yet blend really well when they sing together. As a bassist, Kurt is my kind of guy. He lays it down big, fat and with intensity. Bass is not an easy gig and he really does a great job of grooving with the kick and catching guitar figures.

Alex doesn't say much, at least I thought so until I stood in front of his amp and paid some attention. On a live gig, Alex may use 3 or 4 different sounds per song because he covers so many bases. One of the fun things for us will be to let him record what he plays live in layers of tracks so that all those great parts are there all the time. He is considered the rhythm guitar player in C5 but his contribution goes much further than what the title would imply.

On drums we have Beda, a professional percussionist, educator and clinician. Beda was a recent addition to C5 and the groove factor certainly went up a few notches when he came on board. He has chops oozing out of every pore and he'll hit anything you put in front of him. But in addition to being a bad-ass drummer, Beda is a fine musician with a great ear, large vocabulary and what's at the top of any producer's wish list, an open mind. When you think about it, drummers get paid to hit things...and sometimes they can be real pricks...not a great combination and perhaps a great subject of a future blog entry. But drummers who are also open-minded musicians are very valuable to a project like this and the recording sessions should be a ton of fun.

On lead guitar, and the guy who's driving this bus down the autobahn is my good friend Markus. Now, Markus is an interesting guy. He works his ass off in the office all day and all he wants to do is play in a rock band. He's also a connoisseur of fine guitars so we have a lot in common in that regard. His efforts in generating the $50,000 Sellaband budget have made him somewhat of a statesman on the website and when we're not actually working on music we are usually discussing either great guitars or the strategies that made this project possible. Add his ironic sense of humor to the mix and you can be sure that none of our rehearsals have had a dull moment.

Tomorrow we move the drums into Sonic Flow studio and we will begin recording the basic rhythm tracks on Saturday. Because this is rock music and the feel is so intrinsic to the style, I want to make every effort to record the tracks with the guys all in the same room. There will be some isolation issues to work out but the final product will be better for our efforts. The keyboard tracks will probably be guide tracks and we will do the final tracks as overdubs after finding just the right sounds. But I want as many of the guitars to go down with the drums and bass as possible in order to capture strong band performances. Once the tracks are feeling good, I'm sure we will do some doubling of the fat guitar parts. The solos and vocals will go down last and I'm hoping that tracking with the full band will render some inspiring foundations on which to build the songs.

So, to the studio we go. In a few days we will find out just how valuable pre-production rehearsals really can be. When getting a band ready to record, I tend to think of things in terms of a sports team. You can win a ton of games all season long, but if you're blown out by the time the playoffs come around, the whole season was a waste of time. Our playoffs start on Saturday and I think that we are peaking at just the right time. The guys are loose and having fun...and that's how you make good music.

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