From the desk of Brian J Abernethy, drummer, singer, scoundrel, and part-time ne’er-do-well:
I send greetings.
We’ve had a little time to rest, recover and reflect, following the Live Recording Concert. You perhaps saw some of the photos from last week’s blog post? Or perhaps you were there yourself. (And if you were, THANK YOU.) It was a hell of an undertaking, and I figure you’d maybe like a little peek behind the scenes, as it were, regarding what it was like from our perspective. The story starts over 4 years ago. Buckle up.
At the start of 2019, we formulated a plan. It was a good plan, if perhaps a little naive, but I think it would have worked out well enough, and been a great learning experience on the side. The plan was that we’d use the proceeds we’d raised from St Patrick’s Day to fund the production of a live album a couple of months later. Then, using profits from the sale of the live album, we’d go into the studio and record another album almost immediately. By year’s end, we’d have tripled the number of CD’s we had for sale. Pretty sweet, right? I think we could have pulled it off, more or less.
Unfortunately, St Patrick’s Day rolled around, and the world closed for business. COVID kept us in our homes, away from bandmates, away from audiences, and well away from ANY kind of recording. I won’t go on any more about that period of time, you were all there too. Suffice to say, it put a crimp in our plans. It took us quite a while (and a number of vaccinations) to finally UNcrimp those plans. Last year, we found a great rate at a local studio, and decided to jump right to the studio album. We released “Mission Statement” last year, and if you’re not listening to it right now…well,why not? Riding the success of that experience, we started talking about the live album.
Why even do a live album? Why not just go back into the studio? We asked ourselves the same questions. We even came up with a couple of answers! A live recording is typically a bit cheaper & faster to produce; we could record and release an entirely new album for less money and in less time than a studio album would take. More importantly, though…I think we play our best, sound our best, at a live show. I love the fine-grained control and all of the many options that a studio recording affords, to be sure, but a live show…it’s a whole different world. I think of some of the live albums I’ve enjoyed over the course of my life: Billy Joe’s “Songs in the Attic”, for example, or Pink Floyd’s “Delicate Sound of Thunder”. The music isn’t perfect and pristine, but there’s an energy to those tracks that can’t be reproduced in a studio setting. The audience isn’t another instrument, it’s another band member, contributing its own presence and sounds. And I think we just flat out PLAY better, more passionately, with a live audience. Furthermore, a live album is mostly going to be comprised of songs we’ve been playing for a while. We’re comfortable with them, we know them forwards and back, so the rehearsals can be a little less intense.
There’s drawbacks, though. In the studio, we can pick and choose each and every track we’re putting on the finished album. We can record and re-record and re-take and overdub every single component on every single track, over and over again, until we get it JUST the way we want it. A live recording? We get one single chance at every piece of music. Someone drops a beer bottle in the middle of a song, or a kid wails “DAAAADDY, THIS IS BORING”, or That Guy yells out for “Free Bird!” at the wrong time, and that track is ruined. We performed 2 sets worth of material, and we have high hopes of getting 12-14 songs out of that and onto the album. Ah, but which ones? Don’t know yet. We won’t know what’s usable until we have a chance to sit down and listen to all of it. We stacked the deck in our favor, of course: We filled the sets with pieces of music we’d love to have on an album, practiced them like crazy, and then put in extra practice on the 2 new pieces we unveiled, “This Is The Life” and “Code of Silence”. So no matter what we end up with, the album will be full of music we love to play, and to play for you in particular.
The night itself? I’ll be honest, I was feeling a little overwhelmed when I first walked in, before anything was set up. So many moving parts, so many things that could go wrong. Everyone was feeling the pressure. But by the time we got things set up, and people began to arrive and take their seats…it was mostly just another show, to me at least. And I know how to DO that, y’know? Once we started playing, I was in my comfort zone. I could relax a little, enjoy making the music. What I was unprepared for was the sheer magnitude of the audience response. You sang along, cheered and applauded at the end of each song, and in so doing propelled us that little bit farther. We played better than perhaps we ever have before, and as the song says, it couldn’t have come at a better time. We made some righteous music, for and because of you.
I suspect my bandmates will share their memories of the event from their own perspective, all throughout the month. For me…it was without a doubt a night to remember, and fondly at that. I can’t wait to be able to share this new album with you all. Thank you, sincerely, for being a part of this project, for your love and support, and for continuing on with us on this crazy journey to…well, we’re not quite sure where we’re headed, but it seems we have some great company for the ride.