Friday, December 28, 2007

Tracks of My Peers

I've had the pleasure of working on Tim Carroll's next record these past few months...we just kind of work on it when the mood strikes us, no deadline since his latest record, "The Devil Is A Busy Man" is just out (and getting great reviews). These songs started as demos on a Roland VS1680, got transfered to my computer the old fashioned way - via Hosa RCA to 1/4 8-channel snake - and loaded into Steinberg's Cubase 4.

We've replaced or augmented most of the drum machine tracks with Marco Giovino's stellar drums. Turns out my living room sounds great with a drum kit in it...and Marco behind that kit.

These songs are a bit of a departure, somewhat mid-wifed by the technology that recorded them. When you are as prolific as Tim, getting down the initial inspiration is vital...if not captured, it might get pushed out of the way - and forgotten -by the next song coming through the funnel. We are both really liking what is happening and are getting near the end of the mixing process.

Next up is Cole Slivka's record, tracked on Pro Tools a couple years ago and just now seeing the light of day. We may overdub, re-record or just mix what's on there...can't wait to get into that once Tim's record is finished. Cole and her husband Paul have the 8-track version of the Roland, the VS -880. I look forward to working with their tracks as I do with Tim's.

Marco and his wife, Kylie Harris, are editing her next record at the moment. They have a Cubase SX3 rig at their house, so MG can throw drums on anything I am working on at his place, if needed, and it will pop right into Cubase. Obviously, any of Kylie's demos can be passed around and parts can be added by any one at this point. I think recording equipment will be the one common thread between musicians in the near future.

If you're a drummer, you'll have your drum kit and percusssion trick bag....and a small DAW rig as a matter of course. I'll be able to hire you to play a live gig, record a tracking session at my place, or to throw some drums on one of my sessions at your place...all over the internet, if desired. No matter what instrument you play, you'll need a way to get your music recorded, especially if you are also a songwriter.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Need A Little Christmas?

Here's a little Christmas music for you, with me on guitars and Donna Beasley on vocals and percussion. Marco Giovino joined us on drums for "The Little Drummer Boy".

First up is "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", then "The Little Drummer Boy".

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Hard Drive... Is Gonna Fail

Well, maybe not fail, but I have been in a continuous, Dylanesque loop, waiting for verse after verse to get through, but the chorus never comes. So far.

I bought a nice, fresh copy of Steinberg's Cubase 4, a software program for recording and editing digital audio. I have been using this program, and it's big brother Nuendo, on various systems for years. This nice, fresh copy did not like my computer, so I installed a nice fresh copy of Windows XP Pro on my system drive.

Somehow, the computer decided to swap drive names, and what was my System Drive "C:" is now called "System Drive D:". My Audio Drive, "D:" is now called "Audio Drive C:". This is a problem, since most programs look to the C: drive for info by default. This was causing weird problems when trying to load plugins in Cubase, as it kept saying that in was unable to create a New User Profile...and nobody even asked it to.

So, I tried to format the Audio drive, after backing it up to an external drive, but I could not, since XP does not allow you to format what it thinks is the System Drive. I tried to rename it, but XP does not allow that, at least not using the "Disk Management" option on the "My Computer" dealio.

A little research and I found I could rename them in the registry, so I did. I made the Audio Drive (now called C , should be D) into a "Z" drive. I made the System Drive (now called D, should be C) into the C: drive... now that C was available again, then changed Z to D.

All well and good, right? Nope. Now the BIOS can't boot XP from the nice, fresh XP disc because it's looking for "NTLDR", which I gather is short for "NT Loader". Whatever. I apparently have my OS stretched across two drives, so I decided to nuke everything and start over, hopefully having two nice, fresh drives ready for nice, fresh programs.

I physically unmounted the 70G System Drive, took it into the other room, opened up my nice, fresh Dell XP machine, connected the drive and formatted it to NTFS, using the low and slow, option to wipe out everything - including Rose Law Firm billing records, Sasquatch photos, John Kerry's service records, Jimmy Hoffa's whereabouts: a real Rose Mary Woods effort - on my C drive. Worked great. 99% free, an empty drive, no stray files, no confusion.

Take the drive back to the studio, attach it to the cables, insert nice, fresh XP disk, tell BIOS to boot from CD-ROM, and expect to have the only connected drive in the whole damn computer, freshly formatted, begin to be filled with fabulous MS 1's and 0's. Hah.

Still "can't find NTLDR". Will not boot from CD, will not boot at all. I will boot it off my porch in a minute. Seriously.

I have called the cavalry, but they are busy recording away on their fine machines. Yippee.


Mission Control has identified and solved the problem as of this morning. Downloading SP 1 and SP2 as we speak. Should be up and running by supper time. Let me note that in an effort to salvage the work I was doing on my PC studio rig, I loaded Cubase 4 on to my MacBook Pro. 5 minutes later - seriously - I was recording and editing audio.

I'm going to leave Cubase on my Mac, where it is sitting nicely next to Pro Tools M-Powered. Just in case.

Oh..and I'll start saving up for a Mac Pro desktop. Just because.