Archive | September, 2010

Recording – day two

10 Sep
Ladies in the house!

Ladies in the house!

Another hot and groove-filled day in the studio and another seven tracks recorded. Mike used a variety of old vintage guitars including a ’66 Gibson 335, and two ancient Telecasters – one of which was a beat up but beautiful natural Thinline. And just in case you were wondering, yes there were pastries, coffee, OJ and plenty of water. At the end of the session we packed everything we needed for the weekend’s gigs, Friday night at Busters Bar & Grill in Ottawa and Saturday night at Le Resto in Maniwaki. After a well needed shower we headed to Pepe’s house for a gathering of friends and some fantastic pizza, made from scratch and cooked in the self-built wood-fired pizza oven in Pepe’s yard. The friends also brought some great food including salad and hors-d’oeuvres. Over here in Canada all houses have a basement and as you can guess most of the musicians are going to have some sort of set-up for rehearsing. Pepe’s is set like a club, with a stage and some funky old vintage posters around the wall. We couldn’t resist playing a few numbers for the guests and the place turned into a Mississippi Juke Joint for the rest of the evening. Definitely not an early night!

Recording – day one

9 Sep
Working on the board - Mark and Mike

Working on the board - Mark and Mike

Up and out fairly early. No stopping at Tim Hortons but Pepe brought some muffins his mum had made plus a blueberry pie. Those brothers have a great work ethic and we recorded from about 11am til 6pm, with a few short breaks for pie, muffins, juice and coffee. We got seven tracks recorded and they are sounding hot with a real dirty down-home groove. Four sweaty but happy guys left the studio and after a shower we headed over to the British themed Pub In Ashton and had some great local beer called Beau’s and some well-earned steak and mushroom pie which, I have to say, was way better than any steak and mushroom pie you’d get back in the UK. The pub had beams, a big old fireplace and could have been in the Cotswolds near to where I live. Another great day and I’m looking forward to day two in the studio.

Donuts, music, pizza and thunder

8 Sep
donuts!

donuts!

A hard day’s work requires some fuel. Stevie took me to one of Canada’s favourite health food stores Tim Hortons where we bought a box of a dozen mixed donuts then headed over to Mike’s to rehearse. Mike’s house is an Aladdin’s Cave of vintage gear and I spent half an hour trying out various harp mics with various tube amps and settled for a shaker-shaped mic (which Mike calls the “Plug”) and an old Fender Bassman. It was hot in the studio but we’re pros and so settled in to a solid six hour rehearsal. When we came out in the light there was a terrific thunderstorm in full swing. We headed downtown for one of the best pizzas I’ve ever had, at Colonnade Pizza, then watched the tail end of a light show called Mozaika – projected onto the sides of the parliament building – then drove around town for a while then across into Quebec and back before stopping for a nightcap at the Royal Oak by the Rideau Canal. A long but satisfying day.

7 Sep
Reunion of 'Blues Brothers' - Stevie, Mark and Mike

Reunion of 'Blues Brothers' - Stevie, Mark and Mike

Had a long days travel on the ‘Milk Run’ as Stevie calls it – on account of the fact I stopped at various airports en route. Why is it the stewardesses always bring the food just after you’ve gone to sleep? And of course the Brothers couldn’t resist playing a trick on me when I arrived. Pepe, who they thought I wouldn’t recognise, was at the bottom of the stairs with a sheet of card with ‘COLE’ written on it. Stevie and Mike were hiding somewhere and they might have gotten away with it  if not for a wicked grin from Pepe. Some big emotional reunion man-hugs then off to the Keg for a beer or three. Eventually we got back to Stevie’s and the time caught up with me. It may have been only midnight in Ottawa but my body said it was 5 a.m. Having breakfast now at Stevie’s which is in Gloucester, Ottawa. I’m from Gloucester in the UK. How freaky is that? It’s got to be fate. Off soon to Mike’s to make some sweet music.

No rest for the wicked

5 Sep
Mark Cole's Southern Collision poster

Mark Cole's Southern Collision poster

Well, I decided I was pretty much ready for the flight to Ottawa tomorrow and could relax for the rest of the day when I remembered there was stuff to do ready for when I get back. I’m in four bands at the moment and one of them, Southern Collision, has its first gig later this month. That’s ok but the rest of the guys in the band don’t know what we’re playing yet, so I had to hastily put some demo CDs together and get them in the post so that while I’m having a ball in Canada (erm, sorry that should have said “working really hard with the Myers Brothers Blues Band”) they can learn the songs. How did we manage before modern technology? I know some of you are thinking “why didn’t he just send MP3s?” but you still can’t beat CDs for listening in the car. The CDs are posted, suitcase almost packed and the smell of  homemade chilli is calling me and so I’m off for my dinner. The next post will be from the Great White North!

Preparations

3 Sep
money, money, money...

money, money, money...

Picked up my Canadian Dollars today. Very pretty money, especially when it’s brand new, crisp and clean. Also got some mossie repellant and a bite pen as I’ll be spending time by a lake near Ottawa. Wouldn’t have thought of it but a good friend of mine who lived in Canada for a few years was invited to a BBQ by a lake near Ottawa around this time of year and apparently everyone stayed indoors because of the mossies while the poor cook ran in and out flipping burgers as quickly as he could. Maybe I won’t need the spray and pen but better to be safe than sorry. Just need to clean my harps and launder what I’m taking (not very rock’n’roll I know) and I’m pretty much done. So for the next few days there will be a growing pile of stuff in the bedroom – as usually happens before a trip – which will get flung in a suitcase the night before the flight.

Hello world!

2 Sep
Born to make music

Born to make music

It was inevitable that I’d end up creating a blog. To be honest, as any busy musician will tell you, life is too short to spend half of it updating blogs, social network sites, etc, so I’ve been avoiding it like the plague.  Fortunately I read recently that there’s a backlash against these bloggers who seem to spend all day blogging and there was a general agreement that it’s better to blog when you have something worth saying. 2 or 3 times a week seems to be very acceptable, which is just as well as that’s about all you are likely to get out of me. Hence why I’m calling this an irregular blog. It might be daily if I’ve got lots to tell you about and it might be a few times a week if I don’t. Either way, welcome to my blog and I hope you enjoy it