#14 Sioux Sioux Studio, Part I

by | May 16, 2023

The studio can be brutal, man. I mean, it is hard-ass work. I’m not comparing it to some of the hardest physical labor jobs on the planet, but emotionally, it is not for the weak. Hell, I got fired off of one of the first songs we tried to record by the fucking drummer, LMAO! It’s all in good fun, but I don’t play guitar on the verses of that song, only the choruses and bridge, and I’m the one who wrote the damn thing. Ha ha. 

We came into the studio well-rehearsed, with intention, and very open to criticism and change. You have to be if you want to make a great album. The way Mitschele and Scavone approached it was to allow us to play the song all the way through, and then they would say, “Let’s meet out in the main room to discuss” if they heard things that needed to be changed. Out of our eight songs, there were only a few that they felt didn’t need any tweaking. 

The idea for the first three days was to lay down all of the tracks in hopes of making the drums and bass a finished product. From there, we could overlay whatever we wanted (e.g., vocals, any solos, etc.). My entire three days of recording were going to be scratched anyway, meaning even though I was singing and playing, we were ultimately going to record all of my tracks another day. I was basically there to guide the band and keep them on track throughout the songs. There’s no way someone can sing for eight hours a day, three days in a row, and hope to have any kind of decent voice recorded. Basically, they didn’t want me to worry about playing everything perfectly, singing perfectly, and keeping the band on point through each song. It was hilarious, because when we listened back to the tracks in the control room, you could hear me saying in a deep voice, “VERSE, CHORUS, BRIDGE, SOLO …” Mitschele started joking that I sounded like the video game Mortal Kombat: “FINISH HIM!” Ha ha ha. Every time we heard “VERSE” or “CHORUS,” etc., he’d yell “FINISH HIM!”

As I stated earlier, the first three days were mainly to get the drums and bass down perfectly on each track. This also required us all playing to a click track. For those who don’t know, that is a noise in your headphones that sounds something like “tick tick tick tick tick tick” in the time signature that you want to play the song in. Well, not everyone is comfortable playing to a click track, and I am one of those people. In fact, I FUCKING HATE playing to a click. With that said, Trey LOVES it and is fucking brilliant at it, and that’s all that matters. A click track will totally ruin my day; the fucking thing throws me off and all over the place rhythmically, which is odd because I have always been known for having good rhythm. 

There were parts of songs that started out with guitar only, so what the fuck were we going to do with rhythm all over the damn place as soon as I heard that click? One thing we all noticed was that as soon as Trey’s kick hit, I was on solid ground and playing like a champ. Scavone and Mitschele came up with the idea to have Trey count me in and play the click tempo on the high hat or use his kick, and they would just erase it on the final mixes so it wouldn’t be in the song. The was fucking brilliant, because as long as Trey was playing, I was fine. Crisis averted. 

Speaking of the click, going into our song “Go Home,” Trey put his hand out to me because I was looking at him through the door window from my booth, and he asked, “Could you stop playing here, man? I can’t hear my click track.” I said, “Dude, did you just FIRE me from the song I just wrote? What the fuck?” Everyone in the studio burst out laughing, and this became the joke of the entire seven days we were in the studio: “Who’s gonna get fired today?” LMAO. The problem was that my playing was way too busy and totally interfering with the beat of the click and throwing Trey off. Trey said, “Nah, man, just while we are recording; you can play your part later after we lay down the tracks.” Once the song began without my guitar part, I realized that it sounded WAY better. So I said, “Guys, I don’t care if I play at all on this song. It’s OK. I wrote the damn thing and am singing on it, so if it sounds better without me then I am fine with it.” 

You see, Mitschele had come in my booth earlier because they asked us to change some things on another song. He sensed my frustration—it wasn’t because of the change; it was trying to relearn the damn song differently—and said, “Hey, brother, this is YOUR album and YOUR songs so you get to do them however you want, but if Jason (Scavone) and I both hear the same thing, we are going to fight for it.” I immediately looked at him and said, “I didn’t come in here to prove to you that I was a better songwriter than you guys. I came in here to record a great album, and I promise you that whatever you guys ask for, this band will do ALL we can to make it happen.”