Friday, July 16, 2010


After a two month hiatus working on a new script (otherwise known as drywalling my parents' beachouse) in NY, a two week return is made to Los Angeles for meetings and to hopefully get us much recording done as possible.

Several months ago the naif in me felt that after recording two basic tracks in a day each, we would simply crank out a song a day and be lauded as the most prolific band in the history of music. However, bassist Corey Roderer spoke the wise words, "Ah... dude. Maybe we should finish the songs we started". Damn you and your logic Corey Roederer.

So, today was spent working on the old tracks. While it had to be done, there was something somewhat daunting about the task. I kind of liked the haphazard feel of the unfinished versions. They were sort of rough bastard children that I'd grown to love in my thousand odd iPod plays.

Mercifully my job consisted of lending moral support (aka playing with my Hipstamatic camera app and drinking Corona's) while Henry strapped on his Craig's List acquired Telecaster and actually worked.

By the end of the day Ulysses became dare I say... radio friendly... with a new guitar line that sounds kind of like if Neil Clark of Lloyd Cole and the Commotions borrowed the Edge's guitar gear (In 1984 that could have actually happened).

At the end of the day, plans were made to perhaps find a pedal steel player to work on Confidence and to bring in some female backup vocalists. We now need to bring in Max Biscoe in to lay in his guitar and then in a week two tracks will be done like the proverbial dinner.

So, after a hard day of snapping Hipstamatics I'm now retiring to the dark environs of THE DRAWING ROOM to nurse a cool drink before collapsing from jet lag and heat exhaustion.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DAY 3.5

Sitting aka staggering at the keyboard after roughly 14 hours in the studio/dinner party.

Arrived after far too much Turkish coffee and horrible decaf from the place that replaced Victor's Deli on Franklin. The mere fact that they forced someone out of business is further compounded by the dollar surcharge... good times.

Arrived at Electric Thomasland studios to find Henry's friend Mike sitting outside. Mike factors into this story later when a) he offers me Coors Light to easy my vocal stress and b) he watches Evie and Henry Jr. so we can have a massive Partridge Family Thomas jam.

Christian, our producer, arrives around 12PM. We're thrilled to blast through the guitar on Ulysses which I'm slightly concerned sounds like u2 in a bad way (yes there is u2 in a good way from approximately 1979 to 1981). Christian assures me that I'm being neurotic which I buy because a) he has way more indie street cred than I do (read none) and b) I'm playing through Henry's effects and with a borrowed Epiphone Casino Elitist so I'm not totally in my element.

Christian plays back our takes and I'm still not totally convinced but he in his bearded hipster way convinces me that the delay actually marries the guitar line to the track.

We move on to our second song of the day and Christian announces that our scratch guitar track is out of tune. That means that we have to re-do that and the lines I've just laid down. Bummer because the song is 1/2 a step up and we spend the next hour tuning the guitar.

Finally we're in tune and lay down a passible track and then flip through the vocals faster than anything I've ever done (well almost anything). Mike's Coors Silver Bullet eases the process and suddenly it's 4:30 and we have a track...

Christian leaves for the day and I find myself swept up in another Henry/Anna barbecue with their friends Mike, Meredith and Andrew. Andrew it turns out plays drums and after a tremendous amount of eating and watching Andrew play air drums to God knows what via the iPod docking station we all retire to the studio. Andrew plays drums on Trouser Confidence, Anna sings backup and we sound surprisingly tight for two people that have never played with us before. Suddenly it feels like we have a real drummer which is great. (and if Andrew reads this, I mean... ah... it feels like maybe we have someone who might eventually be a drummer with us... no pressure... ah... totally).

We blast through five or so songs including a cover of Depeche Mode's PUPPETS and then that's it for the evening. A pleasant feeling of Mission Accomplished.

And so we sleep.\


Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Back in LA and have spent the last week suffering GAS which for the uninitiated is Gear Aquisition Syndrome. Henry announced that he was looking for a "tele" sound which then prompted me to go on a 48 hour telecaster Craig's List binge before finding a 1980's thinline Telecaster from Japan at an incredible price.

I accompanied Henry to the sellers house in Echo Park which can always be a dicy thing (I once purchased a Gretsch off a nice but shady seeming guy who said 'I'm selling the guitar so I can buy food for our tour'. I instantly felt horrible about taking advantage of the fantastic deal I was getting until he said 'What do you think about this Rickenbacker bass I just stole'. I then happily paid up and left hoping to the Karma gods that my new Gretsch wasn't stolen. It turned out that the band he was touring with was The Bravery. I now think of them as kind of like the Killers but worse and with stolen gear.

In any event, my willpower was severely tested by a trip to Highland Park which has music shops that still "gasp" sell used instruments at reasonable prices. I was shocked to find a Japanese 62 reissue telecaster from the 1980's for $450. I tried it out and had that instant moment of being torn between 'this guitar doesn't really suit me' and 'it's so cheap' which is essentially a variation on 'this girl doesn't really suit me' and 'but she's so cute'. Invariably you have to go with what suits you and I passed but it doesn't still stop me from thinking 'what if' in both scenarios.

I also found out an interesting fact that almost all guitar strings are made in the same factory and just repackaged. Thus the next time I hear some yo-yo in a store say "I really love Gibson vintage historic strings they just give me the sound that you can't anywhere else", I won't have to feel remorse about instantly punching him the face (Metaphorically of course).

So, tomorrow recording and then packing up my stuff for NYC with the potential for an opening slot back in LA mid summer for a fairly well known band...

Good night you princes of exile.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

DAY 2.5.5

Okay, I said there wouldn't be more posts until we reconvene in a week and a half to finish the tracks but I felt it only fair to share what the plan is. I believe we're going to attempt the aforementioned Sunset Junction in August and then Henry had the idea of a month long residency at Spaceland.

While we'll have a normal set (yes we have about eight songs right now) we're not such egotists that we don't think the odd cover shouldn't be thrown into the set so perhaps, dear reader, in the the absence of new posts, you can create a virtual cover setlist for us of songs you'd like to hear.

While the rest of the band will I'm sure resist, I was walking down the road today and the image that kept playing in my mind over and over again is standing up at Spaceland, having Anna, Henry's wife join us along with her friend Danica, a familiar beat starts up and from the audience I hear someone say "F#$k, that's 'EVERYBODY WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD'".

Oh, yeah. It's gonna be like that.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

DAY 2.5.5

We're on a slight hiatus right now. Henry is in the midst of dealing with the arrival of number one son, I am in New York, Corey is no doubt careening around the Watson Twins party in honor of Derby, Max is wrangling twins and Christian is most likely composing another email trying to convince me to sell my Stratocaster to him.

There will be updates, there will be photos, there will be music and most importantly there will be an ep. So please excuse the fact that updates will probably be nil for the next two weeks until we reconvene in LA to begin recoding anew.

All I can say is that so far what we have sounds good enough that at least eggs won't be thrown at us if we play live (cabbage perhaps).

Until next time. Rock on... or you know, alternative music shimmy on, or whatever.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Waiting for Corey Roederer our stalwart bassist to arrive and chaperone me to day one of tracking. The old fears of committing to anything (relationships, words on a page, song structure) are coming back but are nothing that the fine people at Cazadores and Pfiser can't help with). While it's a wee bit early for a shot of tequila, I do feel it's suitably rock and roll to partake, especially if it's going to help the process.

Saw a look a like (or look-e-loo) as they say in Blighty for our guitarist Max at a red light and then a homeless person collecting cans with a "Massive Attack" jacket. Max is from Bristol, home of Massive Attack, perhaps best now known for the HOUSE MD TV theme. I'll accept this again as an omen that the rock gods are smiling. Actually, it's most likely the bubble gum New Order gods that should be smiling... Rock Gods I'm sure would avoid my sensibilities like the plague.

Which brings us to the sound that we're going for. Corey has dubbed us Wilco meets New Order which I think is better than a "Gay sounding" Replacements. Either one works, really however...

The plan for the day is two songs, drums and bass laid down. It seems possible. My sister suggests via email that the blog should be optioned and turned into a screenplay about a bunch of middle aged guys who form a band and record an album late in life and then in turn learn something. I'm hoping it's not "don't leave expensive equipment in an unlocked garage".

I do have the niggling thought that we're going to have to spend some time with a piece of paper going over lyrics, structure, etc. which is always annoying for all involved, especially my because on paper the lyrics appear even crappier than when sung. It's odd, but for a writer, I really can't come up with anything that gets past a Lindsey Lohan "B" side when it comes to lyrics. Sad, but true.

Monday, April 26, 2010


Have restrung my semi trusty Gibson 330 that was purchased about six years ago by swapping in two guitars and a little bit of cash to get me the same guitar that Bernard Sumner of New Order sports and Johnny Marr claims is his favorite. With that kind of pedigree I knew I had to have one, and while they're shockingly expensive somehow I've managed to make this part of the guitarsenal.

My strings haven't been changed since New Order last released an album... not in any kind of protest, just out of sheer laziness and fear that I'll do a crap job of it.

Mr. Thomas has graciously given me what appears to be a rather expensive set of Gibson reissue strings which seem appropriate, however now that they're on they seem dangerously low and slightly flat. Could be a problem tomorrow, but the beauty of Electric Thomasland Studios is there are about 15,000 guitars to chose from (burglars take note).

I've also been counting on the fact that we'd do two of Henry's songs tomorrow simply because I'm a neurotic mess and hate things like deciding keys, etc. on songs that I sing on. However I've just gotten a text that he's going to have to head to the doctors since he and the Mrs. are expecting a baby. That means I have to arrive, 12:30'ish prepared to choose a key and an actual structure to two songs.

I shall awake early, attempt to go to a yoga class to de-stress (feel free to punch me in the face for this but I suffer from a genuine anxiety disorder) and then frantically write out lyrics, changes, etc.

Someone said something about it being good to face your fears. Slightly afraid of tomorrow so I guess this is a good thing. I'm also hoping to pick up an SD memory card so we can document some of the goings on.

'Til tomorrow then.