Tag Archives: gonzo multimedia

Rick Wakeman & Tony Ashton’s Gastank

wakemangastank_ad-breakRick Wakeman just released DVD and CD/DVD sets of the original series called Gastank, a unique show aired in the U.K. on channel 4 back in 1982-1983. It featured Wakeman interviewing a host of musical artists as diverse as Steve Hackett, Ian Paice, Andy Fairweather Low, John Entwistle, Eric Burdon, and Godley and Crème, then joining these musicians for a few live numbers with stalwart cohost Tony Ashton and friends. The show was beloved by fans of rock and prog music who had the chance to see some well established rock ‘n’ roll heroes, along with a few overlooked artists of the era, play bar blues, classic, progressive old and new songs live in an intimate setting. It’s available via Wakeman’s site and at Gonzo Multimedia here: http://www.gonzomultimedia.com/product_details/15960/Rick_Wakeman-Gastank_(DVD).html

Anyone interested Wakeman’s mid-period work, or any of the guests on this show are advised to pick up a copy of this rare set. Every segment is interesting and even of historical importance in some way, be it the interviews or live numbers. One of the best moments of the set is Wakeman and Ashton sharing a piano for a hilarious bit simply called “Keyboard Adlib.” That and Steve Hackett’s “Boogie” alone are well worth the price of the set! Sound good? Read on…

Background / Interview with Rick Wakeman

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Rick Wakeman and Steve Hackett

The year is 1982. Popular music has gone through several tumultuous years, an understatement for artists of the time. Classic and progressive rock musicians are at that moment reimaging themselves, their sound, and their stagecraft, in light of new influences, and the tremendous impact of music videos via the juggernaut called MTV. Punk has come and mostly gone, but continues to influence a host of bands, all plying slightly different musical territory, be it goth, ska, “new wave” dance or one of any number of increasingly eclectic musical styles.

In the face of these events, Wakeman and Tony Ashton, established a new television show called GasTank. Produced by Paul Knight with associate Ralph Tobert, Directed by Gerry Mill and recorded in a pub setting with stage and small studio audience, the show aired in the U.K. on channel 4 in 1982-1983.

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John Entwistle and Rick Wakeman

As an example, GasTank #1 kicks off with a couple of pieces by Ashton and Wakeman, then features friends Rick Parfitt from Status Quo, a reggae band The Cimarons, then legends Alvin Lee and Eric Burdon. Ashton brings a sense of humor, honky tonk bar-band blues piano and gritty vocals to his featured songs – his bits are often tongue-in-cheek and always enjoyable. Wakeman is, well, the man and musician we’ve come to know over so many years in the business – funny, disarming even, and as always brilliant on the keys. The house band includes long time Wakeman drummer Tony Fernandez with Chas Cronk and Jerome Rimson on bass. The rest of the crew play their parts whether an original tune from their catalog, or a suitable cover, such as when Eric Burdon introduces a long time Elvis Presley favorite. It’s intimate and thoroughly enjoyable for any fan or interested viewer.

Three cameramen, Richard Dellow, Andy Watt, and Mike Hand Bowman capture the action primarily from positions just in front of the small stage, or on it, affording us an upfront view of fingers, frets, and performances. The sound by Mike Erander and enduring quality of the footage itself is exceptional.

GasTank has long been unavailable on home video in any format. The box set from Gonzo Multimedia puts that right. It includes every episode of the series, presented over 2 DVDs (and in the larger set 3CDs as well) along with an interviews book and other goodies.

But there is a bit more to the story of GasTank, and for that we talked to the man himself, Rick Wakeman to learn more.

Rick, how did the concept for Gas Tank come about?

My dear friend Tony Ashton came up with it. The whole idea of the program, of playing live with people was his brainchild. He came up with the name as well, which I thought was a great name – back then “gas” was a hip expression. He was wonderful to play with – all Tony wanted to do was play piano, which worked well cause I played synths. He was a great boogie-woogie rock player – bands like Ashton, Gardener and Dyke and all the other groups he worked with are evidence to that. He was so, so good. It was sad when he died. One of the nice things is when I watch the programs – it’s the memories of seeing Tony play and all the good times that we had that I cherish. We did have amazing amounts of fun.

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Tony Ashton and band

What to you are some of the standout moments from the interviews or performances from the show, from your perspective?

There were quite a few standout performances. Phil Lynott was a great friend who came on and you’ll see when you watch it, he introduced a new member of Thin Lizzy, one that became a very important part of the band. John Entwistle’s solo appearance will remain with me forever. I asked him to come on – he was a great friend. I said “I want you to do a long solo – imagine an extended “My Generation” type of solo.” He said okay. So we wrote this piece for him and he did it in rehearsal. It was a good solo – a bit subdued, but I thought it would be really nice. Then his roadie took me aside and said ‘be prepared for tonight – that was just playing around.’ The solo he did for the taping was just jaw dropping – he absolutely knew how to take it to that next level. We had some good fun things on there. Suzy Quatro, Maggie Bell – lots of other performances. There were fun things as well – odd comments made, John Entwistle made one comment and his ex-wife sued him!

We had a great house band – we had a lot of fun with the house band – all great friends and camaraderie. Alvin Lee was on as a guest and he was fantastic. He loved it so much, he asked to come down and play in the house band. We had that with a few of the guest musicians – not just playing and leaving but most staying all day and watching the other people that came in. We had it set up like a club, and it was a great idea and it would still stand up today.

Give us one or two humorous anecdotes about the proceedings, something that went wrong or was surprising or even shocking?

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Rick Parfitt came in and it was the first time he had ever performed solo. And I remember him saying to me “I’m nervous, I never get nervous!” He helped overcome his nerves before we did the interview, by getting completely rat-faced; mind you I was as well. I sat with him doing the interview and I saw the lights were on but no one was in, and he could see in me there wasn’t anyone in either! I asked him a question (mumbles) “how did it feel to do your first solo” and he just grinned – and you can’t see this part because the footage was lost, but he came off the stool and he stumbled by me and landed on the floor (whack). The producers voice came down from upstairs and he said, “probably best to do this interview tomorrow!”

We used to do the interviews after the recordings, we would record in the morning then we would have a liquid lunch then we would do the interviews in the afternoon. They organized a green room, which was heavily stocked with alcohol – better than most pubs and bars. After the incident with Parfitt the green room was only opened after the interviews had been done!

More of this interview can be found inside the set’s booklet, including artists of today who would be on Rick’s wish list if there show were to be revived… and a recollection by dearly departed talent Tony Ashton

Not included, however, is Rick’s perfect pitch for the DVD/CD Box Set:

I can truly recommend that you buy this wonderful collection. The reason I can say this is, I’d buy it myself! It contains so much history, so much fantastic playing, interviews that will never be heard again from a lot of people whom sadly are no longer with us. There’s some music that was never recorded anywhere else. It’s part of our heritage and history and if you’re old enough to remember it, it will bring back great memories. If you weren’t even born at the time, I’m sure you will like a lot of the music, and will like going back and learning how so much of it came about. The GasTank collection, there will never be anything else quite like it, I can guarantee that!

 

Rockin’ the City of Angels – How?

Click here to buy Rockin’ the City of Angels, the new book now available at Amazon.com

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This is the third in a three-part piece about my new book Rockin’ the City of Angels, and I want to answer the question – how did all this come about, for a guy that worked in the tech industry for so many years, and became a writer so late in life?

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Doug & Steve Hackett

In earlier posts, I established that I am a die-hard fan of classic and progressive rock from the 1970s and beyond. I saw almost every one of the 36 artists in the book in Los Angeles (the City of Angels) in the 1970s. But my first written piece on a rock concert was inspired by seeing Rick Wakeman live in London in 2009 with orchestra, choir, and Brian Blessed telling the stories of the six wives of Henry the VIIIth:
https://diegospadeproductions.com/2009/05/16/six-wives-live-live/

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Doug more recently in 2016 with Rick Wakeman and band

From this meager beginning my friend Jeff Melton, a writer for Expose magazine, helped me get the article accepted and into print. On that basis, I contacted several zines, determined to write about these concerts as they came along, and maybe about new and legacy record releases. Jonathan Downes at Gonzo Multimedia liked what he saw and picked me up as staff writer for his magazine: http://www.gonzoweekly.com

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Doug’s Review of Phil Collins’ Bio

After years writing for Gonzo, and also contributing to SomethingElse! I put a pause on my tech career and started the process of writing the book that is about to be shipped. It was a long two year process of incorporating to become a self publisher, locating photos, completing the manuscript, getting editors (Mike Edison, Courtney Lee Adams), a musicologist (Tim Smolko), and a designer (Tilman Reitzle) and others to take the journey with me.

One of the best aspects of the effort was the nearly two years I spent looking for photographs and memorabilia to illuminate the manuscript. I searched through thousands of slides in the basement of a photo agency in London, housed in the same building that was a workhouse, which inspired Charles Dickens’ portrayal of David Copperfield. I trolled websites figuring out how to find photographers from the day, Neal Preston, Richard E. Aaron, Neil Zlowzower, Lisa Tanner, some purely by accident, some who had photos already placed inside album sleeves and music magazines, others carried by agencies like Getty and Rex Features.

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Neal Preston

I will never forget the 2 hours Neal Preston spent with me on the phone talking about his experiences in the day following Led Zeppelin, The Who, and so many classic bands around the country as part of their posse and at times with best friend Cameron Crowe. He had never met me, but nonetheless was generous and enthusiastic on the phone. Also, I was lucky to find and connect with Italian photojournalist Armando Gallo, someone whose work I revere back to the days when his shots

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Armando Gallo

were the only way to see what Peter Gabriel-era Genesis was all about. I never expected the chance to visit both of these artists at their home studios, working together to pick out slides for this book, so many of which are theirs. 

Working with the fine purveyors of rare rock photography at the San Francisco Art Exchange, I was able to connect with many photographers, and one of their special clients Roger Dean, the artist who painted so many Yes album covers among many other achievements. Through this connection, it came to pass that Roger invited my wife and I over to his studios in Essex England while we were in London on vacation. Visiting this studio and meeting Roger and his brother Martyn (who worked with me to select his shots of Yes on tour in 1976) is now a cherished memory.

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Doug with Roger Dean

To top that off, I was able to work directly with musical heroes of mine from Ambrosia and Happy The Man to unearth ’70s photographs from their private collections. This we did, and I was also able to interview band members and document their fantastic stories. For Ambrosia, we focused on their classic Somewhere I Never Travelled, https://diegospadeproductions.com/2016/01/28/ambrosias-early-travels/

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and for Happy the Man, their famous Arista releases, the self titled debut, and the followup Crafty Hands https://diegospadeproductions.com/2016/04/02/happy-the-man/

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Another somewhat tougher climb, the five-month, seven-person introduction effort it took to find one photo of Camel in concert on the night they recorded The Snow Goose live with the London Symphony Orchestra. Oh, elusive photo….

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I could go on, but should stop here. It’s been a terrific ride, and here’s hoping that everyone who comes across this book sees the devotion that went into it, and loves what they see and read… Doug

Rockin’ the City of Angels: What?

Click here to buy Rockin’ the City of Angels, the new book now available at Amazon.com

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Titled Rockin’ the City of Angels, the book was a 2 year labor of love for this long time rock fanatic. I described it on the back cover in this way:

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STROBE FLASHES PIERCE THE DARK STAGE to reveal a NYC street punk as he faces the other half of his fractured self. A father’s WWII fighter plane crashes into a wall, temporarily slowing its ascent around his son’s troubled heart. A fiend clad in a white tuxedo steps out from the frame of a graveyard scene onto a haunted stage welcoming all to his many nightmares. A woman, weapon drawn, tells the story of James and his very cold gun. The top drummer from the top 70s rock band in the world pounds out the opening beat that tells us it’s been a long time since he rock ‘n’ rolled . . . a long lonely, lonely, lonely, lonely lonely time.

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David Bowie photo (c) Neil Zlowzower / Atlas Icons

THESE IMAGES ARE SEARED into my memory from the rock concerts I witnessed in Los Angeles, the “City of Angels” in the 1970s, a time when rock bands were making expansive concept records with sweeping themes. Rock albums at the time promised “theater of the mind,” and their creators were inspired to mount elaborate stage shows that brought these dreams to life. These artists used every available piece of stagecraft—lights, projections, backdrops, props, and costumes—to create awesome spectacles for arenas packed with adoring fans— fans like you and me.

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This book celebrates more than thirty of these incredible performances including key tours by bands such as Led Zeppelin, Queen, David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac, Genesis, Heart, Jethro Tull, Pink Floyd, The Who and Yes. We’ll share memories of those legendary concerts and my reviews of the best video documents of the era, each band illuminated by a hand-picked collection of brilliant images—some never-before seen—by the best photo- journalists of that time including Richard E. Aaron, Jorgen Angel, Fin Costello, Armando Gallo, Neal Preston, Jim Summaria, Lisa Tanner and Neil Zlowzower along with many others.

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Who photo (c) Neal Preston

This coffee-table book is nearly the size of an LP album cover, 396 pages, over 500 images, written by Douglas Harr, designed by Tilman Reitzle. Forword by Armando Gallo.

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The bands, order by category, then the date of their key performance in L.A.

Journey into Rick’s Box Set

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Rick Wakeman

On a rainy day in 1974 when I was just 14 years old, one of my crowd’s older friends came down to our hangout with two records that would come to shape my musical tastes forever.  One was Jethro Tull’s Aqualung, and the second was Rick Wakeman’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth.  We sat transfixed by these exhilarating albums and in particular Rick’s “Journey” sounded fantastic, mystical, as a perfect blend of rock and classical music.  This album started my own long journey as a collector of progressive rock music, focused first on the many practitioners who were mixing classical and rock forms to build large and dramatic soundscapes.  It helped that early on in my own musical education I was exposed to Mozart, Bach, Stravinsky, and so many of the classical masters.  To me, Rick’s music fit right into that pantheon.

rickjourneyJourney to the Center of the Earth was, then, for me the perfect record with which to start my collection.  It combined the best of so many things we had all been discovering – a conceptual framework such as The Who’s Tommy, use of real symphony orchestra, and lots of that (then) “new” futuristic Moog synthesizer sound.  Add narration dramatically delivered by actor David Hemmings, he of the film Camelot (1967) and so many others, and we have one of the most beloved prog rock epics of the era.

In 1998 EMI Classics commissioned Rick to create Return to the Center of the Earth.  At our house, this became my son’s first purchase-upon-release CD as by the young age of 6 he had already been introduced to Rick’s Journey and Arthur.  He was also very familiar with the narrator, Patrick Stewart, due to his role as the captain on the series Star Trek Next Generation. This album became a favorite in our home, with the spectacular instrumental “Dance of a Thousand Lights” as musical highlight.  

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 4.22.55 PMMany readers will already be familiar with the fact that the original Journey album was taken from a live performance, and that a studio recording had not been attempted until 2012 after original sheet music and notations from the 1973 performances once thought lost, were found.  It’s this new recording that is included in Rick’s new limited edition boxed set for Journey and Return.  This album has been available since last year, and is now the subject of a new box set.

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 4.25.25 PMThe set is a very nice collection of these two albums, Journey to the Center of the Earth (Studio, 2012) and Return to the Center of the Earth (1998).  It arrives with a numbered certificate, a print from Roger Dean signed by both Rick and Roger, a lengthy booklet with writings by Rick, liner notes, all lyrics including narration, and several new and old photographs to chart this history.  While I would have added more photos, the booklet itself is a nice read, and includes many gems from Rick – a few of these being:

  • Rick dreamed of creating something like this after attending a performance of Peter and the Wolf to witness “the wonders of putting a story to music”
  • Rick played on the live orchestral version of the Who’s Tommy at the Rainbow Theater in 1972, and Lou Reisner who produced that show, signed on the do Journey
  • David Bowie’s advice to “listen to my own musical thoughts and dreams” was influential while navigating the path to Journey, itself an uphill battle
  • In 2009 a battered and water damaged conductor’s case was sent to Rick from Australia with a score from the original Journey performances.
  • Only 2 live performances of Return were staged – both in Canada (so you can’t always blame Canada!)

Screen Shot 2014-08-10 at 4.23.55 PMThe boxed set includes a CD each for the albums Journey (Studio, 2012) and Return, which sit in one album sized binder with the booklet.  Then, each recording is treated to a two album pressing, each pair in their own binder, without extra accompaniment.  I’m not as much a fan of albums which span multiple disks, but these sound fantastic in this vinyl format – something we’ve gone back to over the last several years for our favorite recordings.

All in all a very nice presentation and wonderful set piece to any fan’s collection of Rick’s many works.  To be complete, be sure to retain a copy of your original Journey recording from 1974, along with a good DVD pressing of that concert captured live in Australia (1975) – This is also available as part of the Rick Wakeman live box set from Gonzo.  It’s a miracle that we have it for posterity given the number of important key progressive rock tours that were not filmed. 

Don Falcone and Spirits Burning at Home

I sort of lost the plot with progressive rock and other similar music from the mid ’90’s to mid ’00’s.  We didn’t collect a lot of it – focusing on more alternative rock forms. But more recently, I’ve been missing the music that fueled my imagination as a younger man, and am realizing that many of the original practitioners are on their last laps, and some others have been filling in, developing the art and taking this music to new places.

A case in point is the cSpirits-Burning---Bridget-Wishartompelling band Spirits Burning. This space rock collective has as its main practitioner and organizer one Don Falcone, keyboardist, editor, and producer.  His notion has been to work with scores of musicians on each new release, collaborating over the internet, and producing a wondrous home brew of space rock, world music, and anything that lights the way.  I visited Don at his home studio this May of 2014.

The latest release from Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart is Make Believe It Real from Gonzo Multimedia.  This is the third release with Bridget Wishart, who sports her own rich catalog including time as lead vocalist for Hawkwind along with other projects.  This one is a longer release spanning two CDs.  To begin, I asked Don if this double is a watershed moment or mark in time for the Spirits Burning project, as can be the case with longer releases:

Don: Actually, to make this release a bit special, we said why not have a second CD – a bonus disk – with some tracks that are only available on compilations, some remixes, and a piece with Twink, which we made into a new track.  So it’s not a “best of” or anything like that.  Instead the length of this new double CD allows us to do something special for the release.  One note – we are planning a compilation disc that will be coming out through Gonzo, and which may be tied to a Hawkwind release as a promo.  Our last compilation was after 10 years and this one will be at the 15 year mark.

Being in Don’s studio, it was a great time to take a look at his recording equipment, methods and approaches.  Don and I walked through several tracks and talked about how his approach to recording has changed over the years.

P1010063When Spirits Burning started, many of us recorded together in the same place.  Over time, more people have gained the ability to record themselves.  So things have developed and changed – it’s clearly given me the opportunity to do different things with space rock and not get bogged down with the same musicians and instruments.

Collaborations have included band members from such disparate sources as Counting Crows to Hawkwind, along with concepts and words from literary sources including Michael Moorcock, and Bob Calvert (posthumously).

Collaborating in this way, I thought it was a great way to write or start pieces and then have other people change that track and turn it into something else, and also to have them start pieces.  So it wasn’t just about me – I’ve always felt that the best band is one where everybody is as good as or better than me.  The other thing is, from the beginning – I wanted to make this a celebration of space rock – over time what’s it’s morphed into is a celebration of collaborating – the result is lots of space rock but there’s prog and other elements – people taking the chance to play with others they would not normally play with.  Slowly over the years, I’ve asked people and they’ve said “yes” – so for example I asked Steven Wilson (of Porcupine Tree) and he agreed, Daevid Allen (from the band Gong) comes in when he is here.  And there are several collaborators from Hawkwind. Most of the recent recording sessions now happen remotely, although Cyrille (Verdeaux from Clearlight) and others still come here to record.  To continue being relevant, I do think I have to vary the classic artists involved and mix in more contemporary performers.

P1010058At this point, we walk through a new track Don is working on – from the upcoming release titled Starhawk (an adaptation of a Mack Maloney novel).  I asked Don how these compositions begin and become developed into the final form:

About 75 percent of the pieces start off with the rhythm and some chords I have in mind.  If I have a vocal line in mind, I know where that has to go as well, but to get it into the digital workstation, I need to decide on the tempo.  Then I get a click track or fake drum.  As an example, I have a bunch of plug-ins for this piece – there is a drum plug-in called Strike and there are others I use.  I sometimes mix drum machines.  To begin, my intent with this piece is to get rid of the drums once I have a drummer.  Occasionally, I will find that I lose something with the real drummer and then I do a bit of both.  So this piece started with the drums (plays a bit of the drum track).  And then I knew what I was going to do on keyboards (plays a bit of the keys with drums).  There are five MIDI instruments – organ, piano, two synths, plus keys that sound like a guitar.  Next, I did a scratch vocal.

Do you ever start with sheet music you’ve written?

I may write down leP1010059tters – A minor, G, whatever and then I experiment – if I’m going to do 7ths or 9ths, then it’s more in the playing, not what I’ve written down.  I don’t know with people who contribute outside this room whether they write things down or not.  I do know someone like Cyrille, will have his way of writing things down.  Violinist Craig Fry will chart everything out.  When Daevid was here for the original Spirits Burning CDs, he would be here for a day and do six pieces – he kind of installed in me more improv – it’s fun to see what happens – when you throw something at somebody.  If they like it, if they get along with it, and you see what they do.  If you are playing rhythm tracks, of course you have to stay consistent with that, and make that work, but if you are doing a solo or effects, you can stretch out. Plus, if I play something that sounds great – I don’t have to worry about playing it live, as I might not play it ever again.  Yes, I’ve captured it digitally, and while I could generate sheet music from it, I typically won’t, unless someone requests it.

Next on this track, a lot of things are done as stems, so you can click on that one Aux or VCA track, for instance, to modify the volume of all the “stemmed” keys at one time (Plays track again while changing the level of the keyboard stem). With every song, I pick a reverb and plug it in (replays background vocals which sound wide across the spectrum, modifying what we are hearing with an external Eventide Model H3000 SE Ultra Harmonizer).

P1010055As an example of how these ideas come together, for this same track, I had a specific idea in mind for the progression of vocals.  “Vagabonds of the Western World” by Thin Lizzy was one of their early tracks that I liked and it inspired me – it starts off with a vocal line and then has a lead vocal line, and a third part – and then at the very end of the song, all three parts happen at once.  I went back and studied what they did – they used complimentary keys that work on top of each other, and using the stereo mix – left, right, center for the lead vocals – it’s very powerful.  I decided to use the idea – of course with different chords, a totally different song, but planned so that the three vocal segments line up in a similar way.  (Plays verse, chorus, lead vocal from “Our Crash”).  Here, eventually, I bring them all together – lead guitar during the bridge is Billy Sherwood (plays a great melodic solo from Billy). Here is the first part on the left, second on the right, center for the lead.

To put down these vocals, we need two singers. For now, the lead is me. I’m working on getting someone special for the final version. For backing vocals, Judge Smith did 3-4 parts — he’s got a great voice.  I gave him a version with all of my scratch vocals and one without.  Given the same parts happen in multiple places, he could concentrate on when it was cleaner and fit best.

P1010061To pull all these tracks together, there are many cloud services on which to collaborate.  I typically use Dropbox but also have a Box account.  When I put all this together, we align the track to “zero,” before anything starts. There is also a mark (or transient) I’m watching for (Don points back to the session window, early in the piece where the first sound is displayed).  If someone is sending a small part, they might not send the whole WAV file (these are quite large), and in those cases I line up the bit where it’s intended to go.  But I ask them to also send me a quick mix of their part with what I gave them, so I can hear where they see themselves fitting in, and at what volume.  If for any reasons there is some latency, where their part is a couple samples or seconds off, I can hear it and know to line it up.  There has been some fun mistakes over the years.  There’s a song on the Spirits Burning & Bridget Wishart CD, “Skyline Signal” where Bridget and I got confused, and invited two bass players.  Luckily, one played in a higher frequency and the other a lower and it sounds really cool together.

So these pieces are coming up on the next project.  “Our Crash” plus “Two Names” are the first two tracks.  Not sure if there will be more instrumentalists in between.  I have been thinking about the type of transition heard in the Hawkwind piece “Assault and Battery” as it goes into “Golden Void” – one of my favorites.  I love how they start with this massive sound and then they come down into this combination of mellotron and bubbling synths and tabla.  You can be influenced by things you like – then work with those influences and take them to a new place.  For “Our Crash” you would never make a Thin Lizzy connection for a million years.  But just structurally it inspired the work.  This is typical of how Spirits Burning tracks are formed.

Don walked through the stack of keyboards, equipment and software he most typically uses – including:

•    Kurzweil 2000 as his main keyboard MIDI trigger
•    Pro Tools HD system for recording and mixing it all
•    Eventide Ultra-Harmonizer Model H3000 SE – which is used for various reverb and delay effects
•    Roland Juno-60 – a classic synth used a little in 2012’s Astralfish release on Don’s Noh Poetry Records label.
•    M-Audio Venom – used for many of the moving synth lines on the “Make Believe It Real” album.
•    Virtual synths. Don says that he typically uses more virtual synths – software plug-ins — than physical keyboards. These include Structure sampler, Xpand!, organ, piano, and a couple of synth plug-ins.)
•    A mellotron he’s storing for a friend and has used for seven of the last eight Spirits Burning CDs!

His home studio is real and warm in a house filled with family and friends, often musicians!
Make Believe It Real  is now available and highly recommended.  Check it out!