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Recording Denise's Song--An Idea...


Denise Drake has a new song: “Cheap Replacement,” I believe it’s called. We played it last night at the Tsunami, and I’ve suggested she record it—and she suggested recording it with the “jam band,” i.e., us. I think that actually might be doable. With my equipment, no less. Let’s say it would be a lot of fun to try.

How? My Tascam has four channels, but I can only record on two at a time, and what I record will appear on both the left and right channels simultaneously—I can’t put some things on the right and some on the left, for instance. To do that, I’d have to be enlisting a computer and a lot more sophisticated software than I’ve got (studios have that stuff—I don’t). That’s not necessarily a bad limitation; it’s just one I have to live with.

Rick (from the “Really Cool Stuff” store in Wheeler) has a decent 8-channel PA that the Tsunami’s been using on Thursday nights, and I believe the two mikes are his, too. I could throw my singing mike into the mix for the vocals, and we could use the other two mikes (which have a longer range) to pick up instruments like fiddle and harmonica and percussion that can’t be plugged in. Bass (we need bass—didn’t have one last night), Denise’s rhythm guitar, and lead (Aaron) would be plugged in directly. It would be essential for the PA to have a “line out” port (it’s new enough that it should) because that’s what would have to go into the Tascam’s “line in” port. (I do know a work-around if there isn’t a “line out” port but I’d rather do this normally.) Two sets of headphones (I have them—one for the Tascam, and one for the PA) with which the sound engineer (me, by default) would have to very carefully set everybody’s levels. Then push “record” and we get what we get. If everything’s set right what we get should be good.

Because there will be two tracks left on the Tascam, it is possible to record two additional things separately, with the musician listening through the one set of headphones while his/her instrument is either plugged in or miked. (And that can be done later—it doesn’t have to be done in situ.) One of those extra instruments could be me, but it doesn’t have to be; I wasn’t doing anything special on the song, just my standard approximation-of-the-melody with a few blues licks thrown in—what I usually do when I don’t know what I’m doing. We had several really good lead players there last night, and it’d be much better to use them rather than me. (I can put effects on those “extra” instruments, too.)

To minimize the impact on everybody’s time—this is a tavern situation, and it should not feel like work—I’d want to do some experimentation in advance with the Tascam and PA, to make sure I could really do what I think I can do, and I’d want the “band” to run through the song once while I set levels (that’d also give the musicians a chance to think about perfecting anything they were doing that could use improvement).

And one could video this at the same time (mostly), too. (“Video is the new audio,” remember.) Two cameras, I think (three would be nice)—one fixed-focus on a tripod, filming the “band” from one vantage point all the way through, and the other(s) zooming in on various “band” members and the tavern audience. I’d want to film Denise separately later, lip-synching along with the song, so there’d be footage of her without a mike in her face. And of course I’d want help with that; I am not a pro with this stuff.

I have heard the new fire hall in Bayside Gardens has a pole. That might make it a perfect venue for videotaping “Pole Dancing for Jesus,” and I need to talk to the fire chief. I may have a couple of folks interested in being pole dancers.



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