It Don't Come Easy
Bend Me, Shape Me
God Only Knows
More Today Than Yesterday
Got to Get You Into My Life
Kind of a Drag
Never Been to Spain
Henry the VIII
Nights in White Satin
All songs were recorded "live" in the studio, with minimal overdubbing (vocals and some percussion). We tried to make it sound just like we do live. We also purposely made some mistakes, to keep it "real." (Yeah, right.) We hope you have as much fun listening to this as we did making it!
Special thanks to Andy Oxman for his expertise in the studio, and his ability to make us comfortable and bring out the best in us. Thanks to our wives/girlfriends for putting up with all the craziness involved in living with a musician, and understanding how important it is to us. And thanks to our fans for coming to the gigs, and proving that a band can play songs that are a bit different, and still gain a following.
In late 2015 we decided to go into the studio and record a "demo tape," essentially something that we could send to venues and agents that were interested in hiring us. We booked a full day at Andy Oxman's SoundWorks Studio in Blue Springs, MO. Cliff, Bruce, Ted and I spent the day capturing several songs on tape (...er, digital bytes). Unlike a lot of recordings, where every part is played separately and later pieced together, we played the songs "live." Cliff and Bruce were in the big room of the studio, while Ted and I were playing in the control room, with our guitars and keyboards plugged directly into the mixing board. We could all see each other through the large window, so we still had visual cues from each other. Whoever sang lead on the song, sang it while we recorded the instruments, so that we'd all know where we were in the song (it's easy to get lost if there's no vocal). These "scratch" vocals were later redone as overdubs, letting the singers concentrate on just singing. The harmony vocals were also overdubbed, along with some percussion. We didn't go overboard on overdubbed, trying to stick with what we were able to reproduce on stage with just the four of us.
One day in the studio wasn't enough, and we came back a second day to finish everything up. Then there were mixes, suggestions, remixes, etc. Our final product was a nice promo CD to send out, and a video, showing us working in the studio. We were so happy with the results that we talked about actually putting it out as a CD. However, we didn't have enough songs.
In 2017, Ted's health issues were taking their toll on him, causing him to retire from the band. At that point, we'd become a five-piece, having added Bill on guitar and vocals. In the fall, we decided to once again do some recording at SoundWorks. We recorded just like before, with Cliff and Bruce in one room, and Bill and I in the other. In addition to recording new songs, we had Bill overdub his lead vocal onto some of the songs that Ted had sung in the studio (which Bill had also taken over on stage). Once again, we spent two days recording in the studio, plus some time with Andy mixing. When it was all sung and done, we had 13 tunes, enough for a full CD, as well as a new promo video.
I'd been looking for an old '60s Volkswagen microbus that I could borrow for our next promo picture, and having no luck. About the time we were recording in the studio, my son, Chris, who does engine swaps for people, got this '69 VW in to work on. As soon as he had it pulled into his shop, I had my studio lights set up. The van, of course, didn't have our logo and the flowers on it, so that was added in Photoshop.
I looked at a lot of mid-'60s album covers to see if there were any consistent themes. Most have the name of the band in big letters near the top. This was, I assume, because people used to flip through the albums at the record store, and the name needed to be highly visible. A lot of the albums also bragged about being in stereo, or in some cases, "New Improved Full Dimensional Stereo." There were a few other things (like "File Under: Pop Music"), but there's only so much room on a CD cover.
I set up my camera with the timer, but soon
realized that wasn't going to work. It's difficult to press the
shutter button and then climb on top of a van. So my wife, Brenda,
came out and took the pictures.