By: Stephen Butler
Category: Miscellaneous

September 26, 2017

Thank you Cheney for your detailed post in response to my analog/digital conundrum. As I mentioned earlier, I have no choice but to use digital, although you can get some effects plugins that can mimic analog to the best of their ability. I have not tried them, I suppose I should, since many are open source and freely available on the internet. It would be nice to run drums and bass through something like that, see how it comes out. You young kids won't remember, but I bought Pink Floyd's A Momentary Lapse of Reason the day of release. On vinyl. I know! Vinyl! Anyway, on the credits bit, it said that all of it had been recorded digitally, except the bass and drums; and that has always stuck with me ever since. And loads upon loads of subsequent albums have been recorded more or less the same way. All digital, except bass and drums. Until, of course, the trend to record pure analog came back. And I used to think, why? Then, it dawned on me why. To use a technical term for a moment, it's because analog adds that extra 'welly.' That fullness, that richness of sound that gives a record its solid backbone, a strength upon which the rest of the sounds can sit, almost like a human triangle. Also, let's look at the word itself, analog. I should add, by way of clarification, that I am British, from the UK, and generally (as you might expect) spell words the UK way. If my dear departed mother were alive today, she'd spin in her grave, because analog is one of the few words that I prefer to spell the American way. Why? Because it sounds 'stronger.' Analogue, spelled the British way, is almost an apology for being a powerful and resonant underpin for the rest of the sound. It's softer, perhaps more gentle, like a flowing stream running under your song. I'm really sorry that I'm the rock on which your record is built, can I just gently run by your ears, sort of thing. Analog, the American way, is: I Am the Beat, deal with it. So, although I cannot afford any proper analog equipment just now, I am looking into any effects plugins that may mimic the analog sound for bass and drums. Any suggestions would be most welcome. Cheers, cheers and thrice cheers! x

By: kbfaber
Category: General discussion

September 25, 2017

Hi Guy. I haven’t written you in a long time but always kept up to speed with your forum. Hope everything is going well with you, Mark and all the work in the studio! Looking forward to read your diaries again. Also very curious about the secret project. We will see in time..

My question: can you tell us about the Henrik Hansen documentary? What’s up with that? Any news?

Thanks in advance. Good luck with all. KB

No, haven't heard anything, but then I'm immersed in other things so I wouldn't.

By: Icelander
Category: General discussion

September 25, 2017

Last week the leader of North Korea called the President of the U.S. a “Dotard”. 14th Century English, I believe. My English Grand-mother used to tell us stories when we were kids which container some Old English words so I looked up a few. “Fopdoodle”, “Honeyfuggle”, “Scobberlotcher”, “Snoutband” and “Wandought” to mention a few. For those of you who are wondering, their in the dictionary. On another English note Guy, I’ve taken to watching “Midsomer Murders” which I’m told has been on British TV for 20 years. Now I know that “Midsomer” is a fictional place but understand most filming is done North West of London ( I think Mr. Saggers lives up that way) and I can’t help but admire the English countryside, the homes, villages, pubs, etc. used in production. Makes me want to visit rural England as I’ve only been to London. Care to join me for a pint!!

Well I'd have to agree with him although I wouldn't use the word Dotard. Come visit, whilst country pubs still exist.

By: Apreisi2
Category: Competition

September 22, 2017

Have all the songs been written…? Luckily not! Great song, great guitar, congratulations!

cheers

By: Jimjimjeroo
Category: General discussion

September 22, 2017

Hi Guy,

Hope you are well!! You may remember a couple of years ago you kindly donated a drum skin to Cornwall Air Ambulance for a charity auction, it all went very well and thank you so much for you generosity! The group of us raised in excess of £80000 for the trust! In spring 2019 my partner and I are getting married, beautiful setting just outside Newquay on the coast, would you and MK be available to play!!

By: Igor
Category: General discussion

September 22, 2017

Hi Doc. Did MK play his Pensa on TheKillers’s Song?

No, it was the Les Paul prototype no.1

By: sv
Category: General discussion

September 21, 2017

Hello Guy: Happy Fall! Hope you are having good weather. You made many hearts soar with hope with those three little words, “You never know.” Much better than, “It might have been”! So, now we will all wait patiently, checking this and other sites anxiously, chewing our nails and ignoring the world as it falls apart around us!

So here’s a question: who manages wardrobe when you are on a multi-city tour and how do those decisions happen? I’m thinking about the various outfits that MK and other band members have worn from way back onwards and wonder what on earth they were thinking. Pink and rust-colored suits (fire that personal shopper!), to undershirts (hmm, interesting!) to black t-shirts (ok, it’s a uniform) to aloha attire (the best!). Have a great weekend. SV

hahaha, as you might imagine, wardrobe isn't high up on this band's list of priority roles. In fact, we haven't had anyone look after wardrobe since 1985. It was different in Bryan Ferry's band with our bespoke Anthony Price light blue silk suits.

By: Wolfgang
Category: General discussion

September 21, 2017

When you work on a new album, is it a defined group of songs you work on, decided before in terms of fitting with the “•idea” of the album’s shape you want to archieve? I remember you saying Mark is always writing.. so is he continuing writing new stuff during the recording process and maybe comes up with adding a new song from “last week” or so? Or is he on a halt in writing and concentrates on recording? So my question is how spontaneous are you in putting these songs together? I remember that Marbletown was done almost all alone by Mark (and you?) and added very late to The Ragpicker’s Dream and was a little surprise for the American guys in the band… All the best, W.

No, it's much more haphazard. An album's theme or direction usually comes along as you progress. At least it has done in my experience.

By: scottahawk
Category: Guy Fletcher

September 20, 2017

Doc … nine years ago we met at the opera house in Boothbay. You probably remember the after show get together. Mark didn’t stay long, the poor guy was swamped by people. But it was great meeting you and Glenn. We chatted quite a bit. Quite a memory.

Vaguely, (forgive me Scott) it was a while back. I remember the place well. A worthy cause, so glad the opera house is alive and working. Such a great building.

By: Miquel
Category: General discussion

September 20, 2017

Hi Doc,

Hope all is ok. I won’t ask for a date or any news about the project. I understand you can not tell us something about so I will wait for “The Day”.

My question is on other way: What does Mark think about this forum? I guess Mark may know you answer our questions. Do you know if Mark has considered anytime answer himself our questions related to him?

Thanks Doc!

Yes, Mark is aware of this forum and he's quite happy to let me do the answering.

By: Erwin
Category: General discussion

September 19, 2017

Hi Guy, some info you might would like to know from the great BK…

» http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/bap-kennedy-s-fin...

Thanks. Dear Bap.

By: Iris Cardozo
Category: General discussion

September 19, 2017

Good evening dear Guy, how are you? I hope you’re well, doing a great job as usual. Well, a bit late to write to you, but always with the best intentions (the intention is what counts as we usually say). 🙂
Today more than anything, I’d like very much to congratulate you, to you and to Mark for the extraordinary work you did about the Mason Dixon mini documentary, it was really incredible, I was watching the program TV and was wonderful see you and see all the guys playing Sailing to Philadelphia in the backdrop, and enjoy it very much. I want to admit that is more than gratifying and exciting to be able to appreciate and know with more depth about the historical terrain of Mason Dixon line which is evoked again trough the lyrics of MK. Awesome!!
I also want to thank you for all your work on your website keeping us informed with your stories and news, I hope to read new diaries soon. 🙂
My best wishes and a big hug, go ahead!!

Iris.

Much appreciated Iris.

By: Julio
Category: General discussion

September 18, 2017

Hello Doc. Sorry for my last question. You said that the project is going to happen for sure, and that soon it won’t be a secret anymore, so I kind of thought that maybe now you were more open to, at least say, which is your death line date for it, which reveals nothing about it but just that, the death line date, just as curiosity. Sorry again, I guess you are tired of us (specially me) asking again and again. Patience is not one of my virtues 🙂

Thankfully, it is one of mine. No worries

By: zimbo
Category: General discussion

September 13, 2017

I want to congratulate you and Mark for the Mason Dixon mini documentary. It was excellent. I really enjoyed learning about the history of the Mason Dixon line. Especially with the backdrop of you and Mark playing Sailing to Philadelphia. What an honor for those 2 men from centuries ago and what a treat for the modern historians who got to tell their stories again to none other than MK.

Thanks, yes, it was a lovely piece. Nice to hear MK narrating.

By: Julio
Category: General discussion

September 13, 2017

Hi Doc. Great to know that the secret project wouldn’t be secret much longer. Is there any date established for the official announcement (or at least the death line date) about what it is, who are related to it and where and when would take place?

As you know, I can't say. You'll know when you know.

By: Matt Schaffer
Category: Competition

September 13, 2017

Hi Guy, haven`t written in quite a while. Love all the music you guys continue to bring us. 2 questions today. Firstly…nitpicking: maybe as part of the new diary you could include some details on how the drums are recorded. Even though Ianto is one of my fave drummers, the “sound” on the recordings (including Tracker) for my ears at least does not compare to KTGC or Even early DS with Pick playing. I can`t quite explain it but especially the snare and hi-hats seemed as if something was missing. Is this a challenge when combining digital with analogue (old world meets new world). The playing is obviously great I am just interested in the challenges. Secondly, the band recording session coincides with Richard being in London with Neil Daimond. He has a few days off between gigs, any chance he will be part of the band session??
Good luck with all the new projects and stay healthy.
I along with many others await with baited breath.
Matt

Analog generally has the effect of glueing things together, nicely... this is the main reason we use it, especially with drums. I can't say re. the musicians for this upcoming band session.

By: sv
Category: General discussion

September 12, 2017

Terri: thanks for a great account of EC’s concert in NYC. Sounds like it was a lot of fun, beer or not! Jealous you got to hear White Room! That was one he did not play at his last concert in the spring. Also, so happy to hear he is looking healthy. Wishing him a successful rest of the tour.

Guy: I’ve been meaning to ask for a while. Any possibilities for a new collaboration between EC and MK and/or any joint appearances planned in the next, say, 18 months? Thanks.

You never know

By: Terri Shawn
Category: General discussion

September 12, 2017

In reply to sv: I had an unbelievably super time at Eric Clapton’s Sept 8 concert at Madison Square Garden. I did not go to be a critic , I went because I have been a fan for 40+years. So here goes. Eric came on following the opening warm up the crowd acts of no less than my fellow Texans Jimmie Vaughn and Gary Clark Jr. They did not let their state down. Eric then came on, looking well and fit. He is very low key and there was very little chit chat to the audience. He opened with the only song in his set from the new release, J J Cale’s Somebody’s Knockin. He then covered a lot of the old favorites, blues and old rockers bookending a middle acoustic session with highlight for me being Layla, of course. There is just 5 players, EC, Nathan East on bass, 2 keyboards one of which was the great Chris Stainton on piano, drummer, and 2 background vocalists. Nathan East sang lead vocals on, I think, I Shot the Sherriff. I hope that is correct. I can’t remember! Could it be the beer? Then WHAM the acoustics are swept away with a kick in’ White Room. Man I was back 15 years old. Which brings me to the giant TV screen behind stage. During White Room it appropriately displayed dizzying psychedelic black and white swirls. Very 1960ish. Mr Clapton disappeared into the swirls. But most of the time the screen showed Clapton’s hands on the guitar. I didn’t have great seats, but not bad either and I grudgingly admit I enjoyed the big behind band screen. Eric played almost 2 hours, finishing up with a jam with Jimmie Vaughn and Gary Clark Jr. An awesome rendition of Bo Diddley’s Before You Accuse Me. It was noted by someone that Eric was playing a new guitar, newly gifted to him by Gary Clark Jr. It was a wonderful evening, for the music and a mostly enthusiastic but prone to sitting too much crowd, but also for seeing Mr Clapton looking so well and healthy. His voice sounded great, and the playing was just beautiful.
So, hope you all get a chance to see Eric Clapton either in LA or t Royal Albert Hall. Could this be his last tour?
Thanks all, and Guy, if you make it through my long winded account. It just kept growing. Again I ask, “Could it be the beer!” Lol

You gotta love Eric.

By: Cheney Coker
Category: General discussion

September 11, 2017

That question from Stephen Butler about mixing a big mess reminded me of something I fell into back in 1979.

I was visiting my brother in Los Angeles and his next door neighbor was an engineer at the Warner Brothers recording studios there. They had just finished the Ry Cooder “Bop Til You Drop” LP and he was keen to show off the 3M digital tape deck they had used to record it. I was really interested in all that stuff so being the kid brother (at age 19) He took me down to the studio on a weekend to let me hear the master tapes for that album.

He brought out a fourth or fifth generation copy that was all beat up. They had poured coffee on it and treated it like crap just ot show off that it still sounded great. He put up one of the songs and sat me in front of the mixing console and let me take a stab at setting the levels myself. Keeping in mind that I had never heard the song before, it was a pretty good test to see how close I could get to something that sounded good.

Well it didn’t go well. At least to my ear. The track wasn’t even that complicated as you might know. Just a basic rhythm section, guitar, vocals, keys, percussion, and backup vocals. First thing I ran into was making a hole for the vocals. You got a guitar player so your first instinct is to bring that up front but guitar steps all over the voacls (as do the keyboards) so you have to dial them back. Then the drums are too loud but if you dial them back too much it sounds muddy.On and on. I didn’t spend too much time trying ot make it work before I essentially said I didn’t want to waste anymore of his time with me playing around. He was being very nice but it was obvious that I could have spent hours and hours just trying to make that one song sound good to me and I might never have got there.

It is really easy to know that what you are listening to soundslike crap. Knowing how to get it to not sound like that is where all that experience I didn’t have might have come in handy. My assumption is that there are some standard guidelines when building up a song. Rhythm to X, keys to Y, guitar to Z, vocals to whatever. Assorted instruments usually are mixed to a certainlevel in the track so they don’t step on each other and get sloppy. I had no idea what that level was (if it exists) and finding it by trial and error was going to be one very long frustrating day we didn’t have.

I can imagine it would be easier if your band could at least have a demo track of the song being played as a band so that you could have in idea of how it all went together. But then you had bands like Steely Dan, later Beatles, 10cc, Queen, etc. that built the song track by track and I can’t help but think that would be even harder to mix because you have nothing to compare it to.

Anayway, to this day I spend a lot of time listening to the way an album is mixed to see where and how much of everything is used. Do you have any shortcuts you use to get close or is it all intuition by now?

Sounds to me like the version on that master was not the final arrangement. Guitars and keyboards stepping in the vocal is a sure fire recipe for anguish. Editing/part-trimming would probably have been required. When an arrangement is good, a track is surprisingly easy to balance. In my mind if a phrase is stepping on the vocal, there's no point in ducking it...cut it!...OR the vocal.

By: Denae
Category: Competition

September 8, 2017

Thank you Guy, you made my day!!