Studio Update for August 2015

The New Amp is a Champ! Jamming Along with Mr. Lou…

Jason Didner from the Jungle Gym Jam with his Blackstar HT Stage 60 amp and PRS SE Custom 24 guitarHow good is my new guitar amp? So good that I felt compelled to spend the last 4 nights re-recording all the electric guitar parts I had already recorded with the old amp on eight tracks out of the 12 that will make up our upcoming album “Lollipop Motel.”

This amp produces tones the old-fashioned way, like on the tracks of your favorite records from the 50s through the 80s. This amp uses vacuum tubes (like the TV sets of yesteryear). Many of today’s amps, including my previous amp, mimicked the sounds of the tube amps. Some are quite good at this. With the old amp I had problems getting the sound “just right” and found myself fighting with it at gigs and not quite satisfied with the recorded sound. All that was out the window when I replaced the amp and used it in a live performance last week. The new amp inspired me to re-record all my latest electric guitar parts and Wow! What a difference in the way the songs sound now! I can’t wait for you to hear them. This amp was a fantastic recommendation by Dave at Sam Ash in Springfield, NJ.

Half the songs I recorded were with bass tracks by Alyssa Menes from the band Asphalt Green, who is also a very prolific composer of music and audio for independently produced video games. In fact her composition business had her so in-demand she needed to part with our group to make more time for it. This leads us to the other four bass tracks provided by “Mr. Lou” DeMartino, who made a huge positive impact on our band in the four months he was with us until an asthma attack suddenly and tragically ended his life this summer. Playing along with Lou’s tracks brought back all the fond memories of jamming with Lou. I felt his hard work, focus and love of craft coming through the headphones. I could almost see his rock-star grimace when he hit that funky high chord at the end of each verse in our song “Jam Packed.” I miss having Lou right there to jam with but I’m profoundly grateful that he left behind something that will live forever.

We have three more songs left to record to complete the album. Our newest bassist Sean Wolfle has given one live performance with us so far and will play two more shows with us this coming weekend (Labor Day Weekend) which will prepare our band for this last studio session to capture Sean and (drummer) Ross’ rhythm parts for the songs “Jersey Dinosaurs,” “Off the Grid” and the album’s title track, “Lollipop Motel.”

Here’s a live performance of “Lollipop Motel” at the actual Lollipop Motel in North Wildwood, NJ, captured by Denise, the Motel’s general manager.

Meantime, my attention turns toward vocal work on these tracks including my lead vocals, harmony vocals by Casey and a guest spot by my friend Ron “Polka Dot!” Albanese on our fun song “The Ultimate Frisbee.” I’ll also have a guest performance on harmonica by popular children’s entertainer Yosi on “Jam Packed,” our funny take on loading up the car for family vacation.

Free to Be...You and Me cover artwork by Hannah Tuohy IllustrationsOne track for the album is already available as a single – that’s “Free to Be…You and Me,” featuring the wonderful Suzi Shelton in a vocal duet with me. Fun fact: this track also represents my debut on saxophone.

Our producer for this album is fellow kindie artist Marc Bazerman of Baze and His Silly Friends. Our present plan is to release this beach-themed album in May of 2016.

How has a new purchase or a change in your available resources inspired or influenced one of your creative projects? Tell us in the comments below!

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