Friday, December 30, 2005

Saxon Studios

The first and arguably most popular LP by the Colorblind James Experience was a veritable patchwork of recordings from different studios, in different states, with different line-ups.

Why'd the Boy Throw the Clock Out the Window? was Chuck's last recording project at Peter Miller Studios before he and Jan moved back east to Rochester, NY. First Day of Spring and Considering a Move to Memphis were used from the Dwight Glodell sessions. The remaining tracks, The German Girls, A Different Bob, Walking My Camel Home, Gravel Road, Fledgling Circus, Dance Critters and Great Northwest were all recorded at Dave Anderson's Saxon Studios.

Throughout the 80's, Saxon Studios was the recording studio for the burgeoning underground scene in Rochester. Far from being the first group to work there, the roster of bands that had walked up the stairs to Dave's attic-top studio included The Ferrets, Lotus STP, The Projectiles, The Chincillas, The Locusts, The Rumbles, Absolute Grey, The Raunchettes, The Young Idea, Static Cling, and The Fadeaways. Saxon Studios, to this day, remains very active and for the curious, the website is worth perusing.

On Dance Critters , you can hear Dave's dog bark during one of the chorus'. It either wanted in..or out. During the opening chorus of Fledgling Circus, the audible squeaks are from the drummer's throne Chuck was gently rocking on. The German Girls originally featured G. Elwyn Meixner on lead vocal. After he quit the band, Chuck went in a sang a new vocal track. G. Elwyn's guitar tracks were left intact however.

Although a version of Dance Critters had been recorded at Dwight Glodell's, it was in fact redone at Dave Anderson's. The sound of the Dwight Glodell recording was superior, but for some reason Chuck felt the performance itself wasn't quite right.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Dwight Glodell and the First Demo Tape, 1986

Dwight Glodell, who had previously worked with Personal Effects, had a studio in the Village Gate Square. He had co-produced and engineered the Effects 1983 Cachalot Ep that had garnered the band some national attention.

When it came time for the band to invest its earnings ($200) in a demo tape, Paul & Peggi not only recommended Dwight but got him to "do us a favor" with a professionally recorded live performance for next to nothing. The band that entered the studio was the first Rochester incarnation of the band that featured Bernie Heveron, Jimmy McAvaney and G. Elwyn Meixner.

Dwight was fairly reserved to the point of being a bit stand-offish to us. It seemed like he neither a) particualarly liked the band nor b) liked working for next to nothing. The songs we ended up recording there, I'm Considering a Move to Memphis, Dance Critters and First Day of Spring, all ended up on our debut LP and each received a lot of airplay on BBC1.

Dwight used some left over 1/4 inch tape and towards the end of First Day of Spring the spool ran out..fwwp, fwwp, fwwp. Moments before the tape ran out, my high E string broke during what was to be the fade-out guitar solo. Anyone familiar with a Stratocaster-style guitar knows the bridge/tremolo bar is attached to springs. When one string breaks, the springs stretch out and the remaining strings go out of tune. Of course I wanted to do it over but Dwight would have nothing to do with that. For two-hundred bucks, we got what we got. He mixed a fade-out that ended a split second before the tape ran out, with the sound of my guitar going completely bonkers.

Considering a Move to Memphis went on to make John Peel's Festive 50 for the year 1987. Dance Critters was chosen to be remixed and released as 12" dance single (what were they thinking?). It's always been a humorous point to me that our brush with success was linked to a three hour demo tape session.