We're Going To Be Friends By The White Stripes

white_stripes_white_blood_cells

I’d like to start by writing that you and I could very well be friends. Heck I’d hope that Jack White and I could be friends.Actually there is a Jack White that I am friends with but it’s not the same Jack White from the White Stripes. The Jack that I know is a drummer from the 80’s era of pop music. He helped me get a leg up in the industry a few years back. However, the Jack White that wrote this song We’re Going To Be Friends I’ve not yet met. It took me a few years of ignoring his music before I saw “It Might Get Loud”. That movie is what gave me a sense of respect for him. Massive respect. Shortly thereafter I had another friend who made me a playlist of their favorite music. In that playlist was this song “We’re Going To Be Friends”. It was a great bonding moment.

The odd thing about the timing on getting that playlist was it was probably one of the darkest points in my life. So it was a breath of fresh air. Thus I’m extending a pay it forward thanks to Jack White for writing a cool little ditty about getting know other people and being friendly. Who do you thank for such things?

We’re Going To Be Friends

Fall is here, hear the yell
Back to school, ring the bell
Brand new shoes, walking blues
Climb the fence, books and pens
I can tell that we are gonna be friends
I can tell that we are gonna be friends

Walk with me, Suzy Lee
Through the park and by the tree
We will rest upon the ground
And look at all the bugs we found
Safely walk to school without a sound
Safely walk to school without a sound

Here we are, no one else
We walked to school all by ourselves
Theres dirt on our uniforms
From chasing all the ants and worms
We clean up and now its time to learn
We clean up and now its time to learn

Numbers, letters, learn to spell
Nouns and books and show and tell
Playtime we will throw the ball
Back to class, through the hall
Teacher marks our height against the wall
Teacher marks our height against the wall

And we don’t notice any time pass
We don’t notice anything
We sit side by side in every class
Teacher thinks that I sound funny
But she likes the way you sing

Tonight I’ll dream while I`m in bed
When silly thoughts go through my head
About the bugs and alphabet
And when I wake tomorrow Ill bet
That you and I will walk together again
I can tell that we are gonna be friends
Yes, I can tell that we are gonna be friends

Remind you of anyone you know?

One Trick You Didn't Know For Loud Mastering

loud-masteringOne thing these days that lots of people have complained about is extremely loud mastering of music and how it tends to kill the song. I’m someone who has heard many a song released where the mastering and/or mix was so brick wall limited that it ends up sounding distorted, lacking dynamics, and it’s disappointing. It destroys the vibe of the recording, all in the name of attempting to stand out above all others when broadcast to the world. The end result of these loud mixes that are overly compressed and limited is one of making the song sound small and shitty. Small and shitty is not necessarily the result any self respecting musician would ever want for their releases. However, many record labels now force this concept of “make it LOUD” to the mixing engineers and the mastering guys.

Once in a while, a mistake can lead to a new discovery about how to approach doing something. Said mistake can end up starting a new way to look at a problem. Such is the case with an approach George Leger III stumbled upon while putting his mastering skills to the test for my song Touch. I have a version of Touch that has been mastered by the great John Rodd. But before I end up releasing the song, I’ll consider going with a second master based on George’s new technique. To put it simply, it’s mind shredding loud mastering, without sounding distorted or compressed.

Watch as I get George to discuss the process of super loud mastering he stumbled upon, to my buddy Jesse Stern, who is also the co-writer on “Till We Meet Again.”

Loud Mastering

Transcript:

So we can get the low down on all this trickery.

Well really all it is… is this is a 32 bit hard… uh, software mixer right.

Yeah.

But because it’s 32 bit, you can crank the crap out of the levels internally. So I can take this fader and ride it up to say +9. And it won’t clip.

Hmmm.

It chops the top off, but it does it in a way that it doesn’t sound dynamically compressed.

Like a soft clipping type thing?

So you can push it up and it sounds loud without sounding [distorted] compressed. Or distorted. Jody was just like: I don’t know what you did man, but the file you gave me, the mastering… It’s the loudest I’ve ever heard and it’s like doesn’t sound bad at all. It sounds great.

Well, yeah. He did a master of Touch.

Uh huh.

That he gave back to me and I was like it was just… what did I say? Mind shredding loud?

Yeah. It was super super loud. [it was so loud…] I didn’t even realize I had done this when I did it. Until I went back and looked and I went, oh wait a minute I didn’t go through this whole thing that I thought I was going through.

And I’m looking at the meters of my thing and my meters are still going up and down with all the dynamics. I’m like how the F^#$ is it so God damn loud!

Yeah. And not like: Phhhhfffftttt! Like crushed. Normally you do that and it gets crushed. What I discovered is that you can actually use this internal little mixer to jack the heck out of your levels, but it doesn’t distort.

Wow.

And it doesn’t sound compressed.

That’s cool.

It is really cool. Cause it’s like you can add 6 to 9 db of limiting without it sounding at all like that’s what you did. The nice thing that I like about the master that I did is… The attack of the kick and the snare are still there. Dynamically it’s like BAM BAM it just sounds so good. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, what the hell.

Okay, are we ready?

We’re ready. We’re ready. Anybody ready?

Have thoughts on loud mastering for your music – chime in in the comments below. I’m happy to discuss.

Slither by Velvet Revolver

slither-contrabandHere’s a throwback about Slither by Velvet Revolver. It’s been about a decade since the ‘supergroup’ Velvet Revolver attempted to give straight up rock ‘n’ roll a shot in the arm amidst a hip hop culture. Featuring members of Gun’s N Roses and Stone Temple Pilots this group had all the trappings of what could make awesome rock. In fact, this particular song did quite well.

While I feel like a rocker at heart, I never had the look that went with it. I went from Metal to Pop. Now I do some many things that I just write music and don’t care so much about the genre as I do to make it sound fucking awesome for the vibe of the song. Which is what I think Slither is for the boys from Velvet Revolver: Slash, Duff, Scott, Matt. Them doing their thing as they do their thing. Which for the world of straight up dirty Rock, well – that’s about as good as it gets. Wouldn’t you agree?

Slither

Hey, hey, hey

When you look you see right through me
Cut the rope, I fell to my knees
Born and broken every single time

Always keep me under finger
That’s the spot where you run to me
Might see some type of pleasure in my mind

Yeah, here comes the water
It comes to wash away the sins of you and I
This time you will see

Hey, hey, hey

When you seek me you’ll destroy me
Rape my mind and smell the poppies
Born and bloodied every single time

Always keep me under finger
That’s the spot where you might linger
Might see some type the pleasure in my mind

Yeah, here comes the water
It comes to wash away the sins of you and I
This time you will see like holy water
It only burns you faster than you’ll ever dry
This time with me

When you look you see right through me
Cut the rope, I fell to my knees
Fallen and broken
Every single time

Yeah, here comes the water
It comes to wash away the sins of you and I
This time you will see like holy water
It only burns you faster than you’ll ever dry
This time with me

Hey, hey, hey

SONGWRITERS
HUDSON, SAUL / MCKAGAN, DUFF ROSE / KUSHNER, DAVID G / WEILAND, SCOTT RICHARD / SORUM, MATHEW WILLIAM

PUBLISHED BY
LYRICS © WARNER/CHAPPELL MUSIC, INC., UNIVERSAL MUSIC PUBLISHING GROUP, CHRYSALIS MUSIC GROUP

Falling In Lyric Video

Falling In From Practical InsanityAh Falling In. This is one of those songs where I constantly get asked to play it. Especially for the girls. Must be something about the acoustic guitar and a guy singing at them that causes them to swoon. Aw who the hell am I kidding. It’s the fact the song is about what every girl or woman on this planet wants. That is, to fall in love. At least all the ones I’ve met. I decided to essentially throw down a live acoustic performance of the song then put up the lyrics on it. What better way to enjoy and ‘read’ the song at the same time. For those out there who’s wondered – how the hell is he playing that song?!? Wonder no more. It’s pretty plain as day to see what it is that I’m doing guitar wise on the song.

Yes, that’s slap ‘n’ pop on an acoustic guitar. It all came down from a dare from someone who felt slap ‘n’ pop couldn’t be effective for playing a guitar. I took that challenge and Falling In was the result. Another tidbit about the song is that major songwriters whom I’ve shared the stage with have always been amazed by the guitar line and how it works with the melody. One of the funniest comments from a star writer was “You’re a victim of your own coolness with that song.” It’s definitely one that people always comment on. In fact, I ask you to comment on it too.

Falling In

In the speechless hush of the 5 a.m.
She’ll spy upon what my sleeping brings in
And if the coffee burns before we see again
The she’d never learn how my feelings creep in

I better grab her with both arms
And hold on tight ‘cause shes’s

Falling in to trouble
Falling in to my life
Falling in to fables
Falling in and it feels so right

In a crowd of thoughts I can wonder how
I’ll ever figure out what may be in her head
And if the world should end before we meet again
Then I’ll never know what two lovers can hold

She better grab me with both arms
And hold on tight ‘cause I’m

Falling in to trouble
Falling in to her life
Falling in to fables
Falling in and it feels so right

Through the course of the day
I think of things to say
And then they fade away
In the course of a fight
I feel things aren’t right
Then it goes all night

We’re falling in to trouble
Falling in to our lives
Falling in to fables
Falling in and it feels so right

Hit me up with your rendition of my tune. Especially want to see all the budding guitarists out there playing along!

I'm Yelling Timber

vine-timber-jody-whitesidesTimber is the word I need to be yelling as I’m finally getting my head around Twitter in a positive way that is building momentum. I’m starting to play around a bit with their video service known as Vine. As part of my New Years vows I told myself that I’d start to take more pictures on Instagram and do more videos on YouTube and start up with more Vines. So far, most of that is going well. Though I’m still working on the Vine thing and getting up to speed with creating more of them. Below is my first 6SecondCover. I recently heard this song a couple of weeks ago and really dug the hook, the flow ain’t bad either.

Timber

“It’s going down. I’m yelling Timber. You better move. You better dance.”

It was pretty fun knocking that out. In the process that took a few minutes due to my voice being nutty early in the morning. I think some ‘viral’ Vines were missed with me hacking up some phlegm. Dang it.

Thanks Pitbull & Ke$sha for a fun tune.

 

Ben Folds Does A Superb Cover Of Golden Slumbers

golden-slumbers-i-am-sam

Golden Slumbers are needed because it’s been a busy week where I’ve been doing a score to a new video game in an effort to get a gig doing the full score for the whole game. Also finishing up the tracking and mix on a single for moi as I delve into the production of the next single to come after that. So what do I do as a means for looking back at a song? I pick Ben Folds doing a fantastic rendition of the Beatles Golden Slumbers. This particular cut appears on the I Am Sam soundtrack. Maybe I shouldn’t be capitalizing the title of the movie, being that they didn’t. Ah who knows.

Part of the reason that I’m examining this cover is that I’m exploring doing more covers of tunes that I like. All in the name of posting them on YouTube. I’ve never been one to do a lot of covers, but hey we’re capable of change. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Ben Folds at a small club early on in their career down in southern California. It was crazy because I had no clue who they were. Then a few years later I was able to catch Ben perform a show at the Wiltern. Amazing performer. Strictly from the standpoint that it seems like he’s always off the cuff. It’s like he loves to wing it rather than be note perfect. This certainly can create a wild ride if the artist is able to pull it off and Ben can. In Golden Slumbers he’s a bit more reserved and touching. Do you dig?

Golden Slumbers by Ben Folds

Once there was a way,
To get back homeward.

Once there was a way
To get back home.

Sleep, pretty darling,
Dot not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.

Golden slumbers,
Fill your eyes
Smiles await you when you rise
Sleep pretty darling
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.

Once there was a way
To get back homeward

Once there was a way
To get back home

Sleep, pretty darling
Do not cry
And I will sing a lullaby.

Enjoy your day!

Trouble Figuring Out How To Describe A Song Who Do I Diss

how-to-describe-a-songEver wonder how we musicians figure out how to describe a song to others so that they’ll understand what the song is before they get to hear it? It’s important to know how to describe the sound of a song to others before they hear it. The better the description, the more enticing it becomes to the uninitiated to hear it. Catch a glimpse of us working through one of the steps of understanding the song so we can approach knowing how to describe it to you, the listener. Follow George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I as we pull apart some fine points in the studio.

The debate get a little heated, or does it? There’s definitely some laughter due to the responses we give each other. It’s an awesome what to arrive at the best method to figure out a song. BTW – who do I diss in this video? Find out!

Describe A Song

transcription:

I’m just trying to think. I’ve been trying to describe this song to people I’m really not sure what to tell them. You know what I mean? Touch is very easy to describe. It’s this, this, this, and this. And I’m trying to think, what is… what is Till We Meet Again? It’s like.

Exactly! It’s that kind of a song. It’s about… wanting to be with somebody.

Right. But.

Now, the question I have for you is this person a friend, or is this a girl?

Well Jesse and I wrote it together. So maybe it was about us. I don’t know.

[laughter]

Is it about friendship? Or is it about romance?

Both. I think really. The passion with somebody you have, then split.

I didn’t know he felt this way about me.

Well. You know…

I feel this way about a lot of people, I just don’t tell them.

We have bromances going on left, right and center around here. You know how it is.

Bromantic?

So anyway. I don’t know. I was just trying to figure out what we would actually call it when I go to describe it. Of course the song is not really done. But I was kinda thinking it’s like Train meets an 80’s power ballad without the soaring vocals. And a little bit bouncy.

No no no no no. I see the more like uh, like what’s his face. The guy you mention all the time.

John Mayer?

John Maher what’s that Your Body Is A Wonderland.

Yeah, there ya go.

Really?!?

Ya.

I don’t want it to be that dated though.

Dude! Dated? Fuck that. It’s not dated or not dated. It’s the attitude that I’m talking about.

Who’s David?

It’s the vibe…

[laughter]

No, I’m just trying to figure out what I would

[who’s David, ha ha ha]

denote it as.

So yeah. What is it? Is it a romantic thing or is it ah, not a romantic thing.

I think it’s a longing thing.

But for what?

For someone, one person.

Well. Ok. Yeah. Ok.

That’s how I’ve always… thought of it.

That’s how I’m thinking of it.

[Yearning for love]

You know maybe it’s it’s kind of like keeping the flame alive. Maybe one day…

Yeah. Exactly.

Yeah.

 

Enjoy, please pass it along to your friends. If you’re not on my email list – JOIN NOW!

Damn I Missed It But We Can Still See It

missed-surh-ian-thornley

Don’t you hate it when you’ve missed something awesome? If you’ve been following me for at least the last two months or longer, then you know that I was in Anaheim for the NAMM show in January. The show/convention is so damn large it’s impossible, not virtually but truly impossible, to see everything that goes on. As it turns out, one of my favorite musicians was there and I had no idea. Grrrr. Ian Thornley is a powerhouse of a writer, guitar player and singer. Powerhouse! Not only was Ian there, but he also performed at a private party for an amp manufacturer Suhr. I’ve heard of their amps, though I’ve never played one. A few nights ago as I was prepping the video I released this week as part of the recording process for vocals on a new single – I came across video of Ian’s performance at NAMM. It’s so damn amazing that I had to share it you all.

So many live performances sound so horrible that live music can often leave a lot to be desired. However, when you watch this, you should be floored by how awesome it sounds. I know I am. It sounds like a freakin’ recording. That’s how tight, how solid, how rich, how in tune these guys are. Remember, this is live, and it’s a band that had one rehearsal (it’s not Ian’s regular band). This is why I love playing with awesome professionals. They make it look and sound easy – and it is if you’re like Ian. There’s a real joy when working with musicians who transcend to this level. I remember my first album and how I wanted to be able to pull it off live – to sound just like the record. Wish that band could have stayed together, they had the calibre.

Blown Wide Open Performance I Missed

Do yourself a favor, go buy his music. Go see him live.

Studio Vocal Mystery See Who I Make Fun Of

Back in the studio. This time some video was captured that pulls back the mystery of vocals. Where George Leger III, Jesse Stern and I were discussing the fine points of doing multiple takes of the same line, using different emotions. All in the name of creating the best vocal to tell the story.  What comes out is a frank discussion between the three of us. I make fun of a movie. Then George really runs into an electric speech about vocals. Jesse (the white hat at the bottom left of the video window) provides a little comic relief along with giving George something cool. Followed by myself relating a story from a recording session with a large songwriter’s organization. Watch what we said and did. Why? Because we’re having a good time talking about what goes into a great vocal recording.

Studio Vocal Mystery

Transcription:

Sometimes it reminds me the movie La Bomba. Dude that sounded great twenty takes ago.

That’s you know. No I’m not arguing that I know you gotta do and every little bit and piece, I’m, I’m fully there. I just think it’s funny that the brother was like he had no concept of like, it sounded the same man. It’s like, no it didn’t.

I sometimes joke when I’m comping vocals and like go in between a few different takes, how about this one, and this one. and I just look at ’em and they’ll say, they all sound exactly the same to me. I don’t know.

We all comp different, right? Like I could give you the same data, you would come up probably… well maybe we will come up with the same. Cause it seems like we’re thinking the same way I can… sense that. But some people I mean I’ll give them a track, you comp it and I’ll comp it. I’ll come back and their comp will be totally different. You know either I go for one that has a lotta little bitty edges and stuff. Little character bits and I’ll fix, I’ll tune it if I have to. But, try to get the character stuff that makes, to me makes a vocal personable; have personality, right? And I have people that just absolutely like want the note to be perfect. That’s what they’re after. That’s all they look for. Yeah. It’s like, there’s no… Cause you can fix… today we have the technology it makes it really easy to fix the note. You can fix the pitch. But you want to get that, you know you just started to do it. Your voice broke up a couple times in the first two lines. Which is exactly what I wanted to get.

Okay. So, anyways. I go for the feel like whatever makes me feel something. Yes!

Or what makes me kinda feel like I, I don’t have words anymore. Yes. And you get that little buzz too, I get a buzz when it happens it’s like I can feel it.

Well, you’re a really good producer. It’s fun to watch you work. Oh, thank you. That’s why I like doing vocal with the man. Yeah, I wanna do vocals with him.

I, I love working. I just love producing. It’s great fun. One of the things I was actually gonna say back to the vocals n something and stuff from movies and TV shows. In Canada, when they did We Are The World here. We had a song in Canada that was produced by David Foster. You know who David Foster is right Okay, do you know who Anne Murray is? yes she’s like… She’s a Canadian superstar, right? Exactly! She’s the Canadian Stevie Nicks. Yea. Sorta. She’s an… This woman has been singing her whole fucking life. She’s a perfectionist. And she can usually do it on the first take. She’s just that good. Well he goes and the same thing kinda happened with him. She got in the first two, first or second take, but he missed it. And they had this on the video that they did of the making of the thing, right? And, in the end it was like he he basically turned to her after he went 20 takes in. Listened to the first two takes and went: I’m so sorry. You did it already, I’m didn’t even hear it. And he was embarrassed.

And it was just like… Wow. It happens. Yeah. Even to the best of the best. I mean Foster is…

You’ve heard heard of Harold Payne right? Do you know who Harold Payne is? He’s a big time songwriter. And he helped write a song for Just Plain Folks. Which is a songwriters organization. Cause they did like a We Are The World. They brought in a bunch of different artists to sing different lines. And they had Alan O’Day producing, in the studio. Who’s no slouch of a writer. He’s had a couple of #1 hits. And Harold was sitting right, standing right next to me in this vocal booth. You know, to go over my line, do all this stuff. I go in. I do the first take. And I do it kinda bluesy. That’s how I thought it came across. And Allan is just going take after take and I hear Harold pull my thing back and he goes. Dude, you nailed it on the first take. I’m sorry.

Stay tuned for more peeks on the inside.