Petrovice, Czech Republic, 8:09 AM
Earlier this year I put some musicians together to go play a few gigs. I realize I have no real “draw power,” and decide to continue only with solo shows until I feel rock solid about my ability to be on any stage and pull it off alone.
I send bro Mike over 100 songs I’ve written and recorded over the last 40 years. In a few days I get a call, “Rog, you’ve gotta come hear this!”
I drive down to Fall City and we go for a ride in his Lincoln SUV, which has a nice sound system. By the end of the 13-song collection he has put together as our next album, I’m in tears, stunned by the emotional impact of what I consider to be a great and important body of work.
Since April I’ve been living with Linda in her new home in Monroe. Her living room taken over by son Rogie’s DW drum kit, my control room has been an upstairs bedroom. I make do, but one day, while meeting for lunch in nearby Duvall, Mike and I are saying how much we wish we had a real studio space to be working in. [*light bulb*] “Ya know what? I know a drummer just over the hill here to the east who built himself a drum studio… a geodesic dome.” A short phone call and next day I’m moving my studio.
Mike McGinnis is an acutely intelligent, talented and fun guy I’ve known since the ‘80’s. His generosity is apparent as he welcomes me and my gear – ProTools HD and Logic, w/Apogee Symphony recording platforms; Mackie mixer; mics and stands; four guitar amps; 10 guitars; and HD video camera with lighting. We spend a day setting up, fine tuning things, believing we’re finished and ready to go the next day. We actually rearrange, re-mic and redo everything several times and even tear out the old carpet and install new, as a result of a chemical-sensitivity I have to the old carpet.
Finally, we mic up his awesome Tama drum kit, begin recording at 192K Hz and voila! Because this is an anechoic room, it sounds amazing. Another reason it sounds amazing is because Mike is a madman. Obsessed with quality and perfection, he has invented a drum tuner that is instantly in high demand by DW Drums and other retailers. It will be on the market soon and will be a must-have for every discerning skin-beater. His drums are tuned using a method very few other drummers use. They sound better than any other I’ve heard. Mike and I have been having jam sessions that are musical nirvana for me, as I throw him curve after curve ball, he responding by adapting and then throwing me something messed up. To adapt to this crossfire of musical wackiness, I learn to perceive rhythm as an open playfield with no time signature or rules, just reaction. We’ll play some gigs soon, using Aaron Balsley on bass guitar.
I was introduced to this 21-year-old swashbuckling talent at a Spike And The Impalers show early this year. I liked him instantly… a lot! His magnetism became more understandable as I spent time rehearsing and writing with him (I’d invited him to join me for a few gigs). Then, in the recent weeks he’s come over to record backing vocals on the new album and we have an excellent blend, almost as if we’re brothers. His forte is electric guitar. He’s a monster – in a special category confined to those who live and breathe their craft -hopelessly dedicated.
Most of the songs bro Mike has chosen for the album are finished, products of the work I did at MARS recording studio, from our home of 20 years in Woodinville, Washington. Song by song, I’m converting them all up to a 192K Hz sample rate so that we can then re-record certain parts and add parts that will show off the high resolution. This is the closest digital can come (at present) to analog, and Mike and I intend to make this ear candy.