Saturday, May 24, 2008

the story of pancho and lefty (part 2)

recording "avenue" at rip's house
was technically the beginning of my "solo" career
although i didn't actually realized it until 3 years later
when i finally got the nerve to swear off band life
i'd phoned rip outta the blue
during a particularly bad patch
and asked him if i could come over and record
i'd just written the heavy "avenue"
of course he said "yes"
and we put it down
in early 2000
(it wasn't actually finished until 3 years later)
it had been about a year since we'd last worked together
this was the beginning of my comeback to music
but i still wasn't in a very good place
and rip was going through difficult times too
our friendship was deepening though
we shared the bond of music together
to get us through the tough times
and we were fast developing a method of recording with each other
that was not only effective
but fun and easy
i always felt comfortable when i was working in the front room
of his house
it was always peaceful
and we had a good chemistry together
at the time though this collaboration was short lived
due to the unstable circumstances surrounding both of our lives
at least i'd made a mental note
that i'd found my greatest musical ally when the time was right

the happiness factor eventually followed
in the spring of 2000
paul averitt
john jay myers
and (at the very beginning...F who was back from portland)
he played one show on july 13th at trees
and then bailed
steve duncan replaced him
again - i don't remember much from this time period
there was still a lot of drama going down
but i'll never forget how good it felt when i was finally
able to call rip up and tell him about my new band
"you gotta see these guys - they're incredible!"
we recorded some crappy jam box demos at our rehearsal room
in deep ellum
then i drove them over to rip's house in a rush
so he could hear the songs
somehow through the terrible sound quality
rip still heard something in there that he wanted to be a part of
we did all of self improvement? at his house
with him engineering producing and mixing
after that we went on to work on our 2nd cd
we spent over a year working on it
but it ended up being unreleased
by the time we'd finished it i had shifted musical directions and decided to move on
what a beating that must have been for not only my band
but rip
who had devoted countless hours to the project
for no personal gain whatsoever

although when i called him up to come over to P.L. to help me with avoid danger
in the fall of 2003
he was there in a heartbeat
with new pre-amps
and a pair of headphones to monitor the sounds
(as i had no isolation (control room) in my makeshift studio)
we had exactly two weeks to track a record
with a bunch of guys who'd never played any of the songs
rip jason garner and chris carmichael played drums
paul averitt steve duncan and danny delamatyr guitars
danny balis and paul played bass
carter albrecht even added some keys
they all showed up and killed it
rip was under the gun to get capture it all on the first take
i challenge you to listen to how good that record sounds
done with no iso whatsoever
that's a testament simply to rip's world-class abilities as a recording engineer
then he mixed it at his house in january of 2003
while i was out on the road whoopin' it up with rhett miller

by the time i started my first solo record polaroid
in 2003
rip and i had made 4 records together (2 unreleased)
most of the initial recording sessions
that would go on to yield polaroid
were done without rip's assistance
but i must admit
i was terrified
i had so much respect for him as a musician
producer and recording engineer
"what am i doing going it alone?" frequently entered my head
but he encouraged me to do so
and never once stiffled my desire to branch out
in fact
he taught me just about everything i know about recording


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