Melody Kings

I know ya’ll think making records is all hookers and blow, but I got news for ya’: it’s hard work.

Case in point: today. Jon, Justin and I got started on the new album Jon’s East Des Moines studio. And while it was fun, and productive, and we had our laughs and such, peoples, I’m tellin’ ya’: it was hard work. We were on the job from nine o’clock this morning (how un-rocknroll, huh?) ’til nine tonight. Here’s how it went down:

9:48 a.m. – I hit the Kum-n-Go for a Hot Pocket© and some Krispy Kremes©. A cop is investigating a rogue needle found in the parking lot. Dispatch reports that there have been two previous incidents at the intersection of 29th and Lanard in the last twenty-four hours: a hit and run, and petty theft. Where the hell am I?

11:33 a.m. – Justin gives me his bio while Jon’s fiddling with knobs. He grew up in Kansas before moving to L.A. on his eighteenth birthday. “I told my dad I’d have the city down in three weeks.” He stayed three years, before returning to the Midwest.

12:16 p.m. – We begin tracking drums for “Harder To Believe.”

1:24 p.m. – Jon suggests to Justin: “Play like you’re tired, you’re in New Orleans, and you’re a little overweight.”

2:14 p.m. – We take a break to eat smoked pork loin, Doritos, and Gatorade.

2:53 p.m. – “God, Bob Barker’s 80-years-old,” Justin says. “The Stones must be in their seventies!”

2:54 p.m. – Jon calls Dirk’s Guitars. “We need a kick drum that goes boom.”

4:02 p.m. – Jason delivers a 1948 WFL Ludwig kick drum in exchange for a slice of pork loin.

4:03 p.m. – Jason calls from the highway. “Damn, that’s some good pork.”

4:04 p.m. We swap the kick drums. It lights up. “Melody Kings” is painted in cursive on the front. It definitely goes “boom.” Jon and Justin are inlove, immediately trying to come up with enough cash to buy it. Dirk has delivered in spades.

4:59 p.m. We wrap drums on “Milk & Honey.”

6:04 p.m. – My cousin Sarah calls from Denver to say she’s heard I’m playing Cedar Falls on Saturday night. The word is out.

6:19 p.m. – Justin’s tracking on “Better Than That.” Jon tells him, “I’m thinking aggressive 70s funk here. But not Phishy. Definitely not Phishy. Not even a little bit.”

6:58 p.m. – Jon and Justin decide to destroy some furniture. Apparently, this is not the first time.

7:23 p.m. – Jon and I form a plan for the rest of the recording. We resolve to work on ten tracks within the week. Then I’ll leave the tracks with Jon at the end of the week for him finish tracking and mix. By September 15. Ambitious? Totally. Fortunately, we’re tracking over demos and using existing guitars tracks, so some of the work’s done. Also, some of the songs will be solo acoustic (“Dry Your Eyes”) or nearly so (“Long Way Down”). We also root around my hard drive for a tenth song and decide on “Falling Backwards,” which is crazy raucous.

8:02 p.m. – I track acoustic guitar for “Long Way Down” and “Dry Your Eyes” on Josh Davis’ Gibson. Thanks Josh!

8:48 p.m. – I track “Long Way Down” vocals in one pass. It may not be a perfect vocal take, but it demonstrates my approach to this recording: “I don’t want to be precious. It’s rocknroll, people.”

9:11 p.m. – I drive my Pontiac Sunbird back to Jason and Stephanie’s cranking Matthew Sweet’s “Girlfriend” with the windows down and the AC on.

11:36 p.m. – Jason and I are typing on our respective G4s when a commercial for the Iowa State Fair comes on KKCI-TV. “Go nuts with The Nadas at the Iowa State Fair!”

Talk with ya’ later, after Jon, Justin, Jason, Mike and I get back to work on the record and The Nadas next big rock show.

Related Posts