Yes, it is work, and after three hours plus, I was semi-exhausted. Today we worked on my keeper vocals for Legends, Lessons, Ten Men and The Crawl, with three takes on each along with various punch-ins for some of my petty mispronunciations, slurs, and less than professional grade performance. Kevin and I work together well to get the best out of me, with various efforts to make it grade A. It works, but three hours of vocals is intense. But, as I told Kevin, it’s a great way for me to really hone the songs and my vocal presentation, especially with headphones and a rich “band’ mix to sing against. In fact, some of the mixes were the first time I’ve heard full bass, drums and my guitar on a couple of tunes. I also get a chance to think about breathing correctly, especially on the endings of lines, when I have to hold a note (and actually sing….).
Lessons from Pete was hard, trying to do spoken word and make it sound natural, in spite of no melody lines on my part. John Gorka’s How Legends are Made was interesting, especially since I’m trying to do John’s real lyrics (I’ve been performing an abbreviated version live), so it took a while to fine a comfort zone on those verses. David Mallett’s Ten Men is also a relatively new song for me, and has to be performed with a certain snarl. Kevin suggested I do the four take and overact on the whole thing. We can add some of those lines in with some of the more laidback spots in earlier takes. What turned out to be cool, is, in fact, that take seemed to be the best.
After recording stereo guitar for The Crawl, we started the vocals for the song. It turned out to be fairly physical, with many verses and a rip-roaring chorus after each. We stumbled upon singing each verse unto itself, and then working on the chorus separately. It was a good move. Things cleaned up nicely.
At this point, I’ll have a really good idea of the basic tracks, with finished guitar and vocals, drums and bass. At this point, I’ll be able to start to consider the fun stuff like leads, backup vocals, and other instrumentation, and be able to deal out the cuts to my friends. This is when the album starts to sound like a chunk of art, the tunes becoming more than songs. The outline is now drawn in black and white and I get to use crayons and paint from here on.