Separating the baby from the bathwater. (Ah, the joys of recording.)
Studio C at Hyde Street is probably not what you would imagine a pro recording studio to be. There are no black leather couches, no assistants asking if you would like anything to drink, no platters of cold cuts to nibble on. The equipment, while all top end, does not scream, “I’m expensive, don’t touch me, don’t even look at me.” The carpet is stained.
And yesterday, several hours into a song called Borderline Love, I’m pretty sure Hyde Street’s relaxed vibe went a long way toward saving me from having a brain aneurysm. Here’s what happened.
We were about ¾ of the way through the song when vocalist Josh Fix, who was laying down harmonies, entered the control room for some listenbacks. I was sprawled on the couch, Jaime Durr was at the board. Jaime pressed “play”. We all were all listening intently as the song rolled and as the second guitar solo commenced after the middle 8 Josh waved his hands and said, “Whoa! What the hell?” At first, I thought he was simply blown away by the solo -- which, honestly, he kinda was – but then he pointed out how that the song’s structure was, um, deconstructing. I tensed up. I mean, I could feel my jaw clench, my lips lose all expression, my lower back spasm slightly, heat. Worse than all this, though, was that I knew deep down that Josh was right. I had fooled myself into thinking that the song’s structure was innovative and different, when in fact, I knew it was a mess.
Worst of all, the true source of my resistance to Josh’s insight emanated from my Lazy Gene. Yup, I just did not want to have to do the hard yards of fixing the song, which would mean, at the very least, rerecording it. I had waltzed into yesterday’s session confident that putting harmonies on Borderline Love would be a fast, easy process. Sure, deep down there was a gnawing feeling that the song needed more work, but I was doing a very fine job of keeping my unease comfortable.
Then things got really bad. Josh pointed out that the second guitar solo probably had to go. NO. I LOVE THAT SOLO. IT’S MY BABY (even though I’m not playing it). I resolved to simply lop off the last verse and pre-chorus and just redo the song with the end chorus coming out of the precious solo and I said as much. Josh agreed. Woo hoo! So I left Hyde Street, feeling certain that while the day had been hard, the song could be saved – solo and all! Back home, though, reality set in. The music in the solo just did not transition well to the chorus. The solo would have to be thrown out. Have to.
And so it will be.
Fact is, Borderline Love is a song I co-wrote with Dave Tutin, so I can’t just change it on the fly. I have an email into Dave outlining the issues and I think he will agree with me. Stay tuned.