Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
Oh oh...way back around the year 2000. Back when doing online music anything was still an extremely expensive and difficult task... the legendary band Little Feat announced it was building a Grassroots Army of their loyal (to a fault) Fans to help develop, market and promote Little Feat and their online Distribution. Back then that was a lofty venture for anyone but a few of the giants like Aerosmith, or the Stones.
I was able to help book them at the now gone but not forgotten "Tobacco Road" Restaurant and Cabaret for the clubs annual Birthday Bash. A large three block wide all day Mardi Gras Style Concert Festival.
Continued through the year to assist in spreading the word all things Feat...and as a thank you the band allowed some of us to submit covers of their greatest hits songs. The band and producer chose to make my submission (done with the wonderful guitar playing assistance of Evens Colas) the lead in song on the release of a promo CD called "All That We Dream...A Tribute To Little Feat."
To be able to give a little back to a band that had inspired me so much all my life was an honor.
What are you working on at the moment?
Linda has got the video editing bug right now and we have some basic video editing software, so we're playing catch up making and releasing videos of our last two CD's worth of songs.
I've been under the weather due to Respitory Issues so am taking a bit of time off to rest. Short reprise not long.
Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
Yes. Paul Kinman <email@example.com> He is the gentleman who Warren Huart interviewed a while back. I contacted him about the whole idea of seriously doing online Music Session Work. He was a very polite and professional person, gave me very good sound advise and is in fact a really talented guitarist/musician.
Going back to a previous question for example, if a client contacted me for a more advance project involving guitar work, I'd more than likely refer the client to Paul as he is the better musician for that client possibly.
Analog or digital and why?
Digital because that's what our studio is. "In The Box" and it works. Analog is still great but way to difficult in today's world to sustain outside of live performance venues.
What's your 'promise' to your clients?
Best we can do and if it isn't right no harm no fowls. It's much more important to make the client happy with the results.
What do you like most about your job?
It's what I do. Period. Everything else is just a job...this is my life.
What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
What can we do?
What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
Not really sure about that one.
What questions do you ask prospective clients?
What is the intention of the song. Is it promotional in nature? Is it a part of an album/CD type of release? Like a concept album, or just a set of pop songs? Is the material going to be shopped for TV, Film or other Sync Licensing? Are we doing tracks in an ala cart manner. Or is the client looking for different things on different songs. We are flexible and can always negotiate based on volume of work, time line for completion and so on. If it's a rush job for example and the client needs four or five completely different things in the tracks it may not be a good idea for the client to hire us? He might need a keyboard wizard guy with an extensive set up of sequencers for example.
It's priority 1 for us that it's a good fit, not just a session for money. If we were do do the latter it could easily boomerang back on us as a negative review of our work and then no one would be interested. So it's got to be a good fit and by that I mean like minded...both client and us want the same end result.
What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
All we want is to make a decent living working our art. We're not looking to jerk anyone around. So please don't play games with us. This is our potential retirement plan. It's a business that can be quite mobile. With a decent and fairly paid small client list, Linda & I could retire and move to nicer places in the world and still be able to do this on a steady and recurring basis. We're not looking to be the next "Whoever" big deal. We just like making great music with great writers, musicians and so on.
If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
My wonderful 1986 Ovation Balladeer Guitar. After all on a deserted island there wouldn't be any electrical power so what would be the use of the other stuff?
What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
I've been playing music and making a living at it one way or the other since 1974.
How would you describe your style?
Can't really. Depends on what we're doing.
Which artist would you like to work with and why?
Everyone. Remember, there's only two kinds of music. Good and Bad.
Can you share one music production tip?
Never stop. Never stop learning, reading, playing, researching, experimenting.
This latest venture on our part started three years ago, when my fiancee did a parody of a Brad Paisely Song. When I realized she'd nailed it with the cadences and story line I just knew we were back in the music saddle again and haven't looked back since.
What type of music do you usually work on?
It varies. Linda is a devout Christian Person, so we've done Christian Worship songs. I of course love classic rock cerca 70's 80's as well as Blues, and R&B. I've also worked with Country Music Bands...had the good fortune a few times of playing onstage with great Jazz Musicians like Sandy Patton and Ira Sullivan.
To me there's two kinds of music...good and bad. I learn from everyone even if I cannot play a specific genre (like Jazz) I can still take away from it new ideas, alternative ways to play and so on.
What's your strongest skill?
Flexibility in arrangements. Example being the most recent contest with BAE. Although the contest was specifically geared to promote a new stomp box being released by the Electronics Company and they were looking for "Electric Guitar Solos." Warren Huart said what the heck, be creative even if you don't play lead guitar.
Since I pretty much grew up listening to the giants of guitar music all my life, I don't often get real fired up over the latest flavor. Not that new musicians are not good...it's just that I've listened to Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Stevie Ray, Santana and so on all my life. But I've also played with the late Danny Gatton, as well as Kenny Neal and War...so the idea of a Harmonica Solo, in the style of a J. Geils/ Magic Dick tradition seemed to be a cool alternative idea. And if you listen to the song versions side by side I think you'd agree, that it's a different feel and funky with harmonica, and a straight out great guitar rock song with electric guitar. In a sense...two different songs.
What do you bring to a song?
Excitement!! To be able to still rock & roll at my age is an absolute blessing. My continuing to meet and get to know so many talented people through the years always makes me smile. So many of us in America right now are beating ourselves to death trying to make the 9-5 shuck and grind work, while it seems like our government and our bosses have just plain abandoned us or our needs. I know I'm very fortunate to still be able to play, sing, and now write music when most of my own neighbors where I live are struggling just to find jobs of any kind.
So I always treat this as a blessing not to be taken for granted ever.
What's your typical work process?
First and foremost...LISTEN. Whether it's an original song we are working on, or a project for a client. I listen and listen before I do anything else. What makes great songs often times is/are those subtle small things that a regular listening audience wouldn't even notice or care about (why should they?) So before I do a session, or a mix I want to make sure my "Ear Balls" as I call them have thoroughly heard any and all little things ranging from a backward guitar pick, to a specialized effects bit. I listen really intensely to how the EQ of the mix sounds as different genres require different accentuation. Rap/Hip Hop is a lot different from C&W and so on.
Tell us about your studio setup.
Very simple and strategic.
64 bit Windows 10 laptop, using Studio One Artist as a DAW. Focusrite 2i2 interface, Oxygen 25 Keyboard Midi Controller. CAD GXL 2200 Large Diaphram Condenser Mic. Some very cool third party plugins, but I mostly use the onboard plugins from Studio One for the essential mixing and editing. Studio One's stock Plugins easily match Pro Tools onboard plugins in quality and ease of use. Their are however, a few things I happen to like for their tone. MJUC Compressor Bundle from Klaghelm for one. The free "Red & Scarlett Suites" Plugin in Bundles from Focusrite. Otherwise mostly stock gear. It's really true one doesn't need to spend 10's of thousands of dollars on gear anymore. The digital age with maybe the exception of a few classic amps, and hardware devices really has caught up with the hardware. I'm constantly amazed at what is now available for Indie Musicians.
What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
As far as bands of influence? Little Feat, Steely Dan, Eagles, Beatles, Stones...essentially the giants of my generation of rock & roll. Heck they really "Invented It" if you think about it. None of us would be here today doing what we're doing without the work of all the Classic Folks.
In Production? Warren Huart, Graham Cocrane for their class and constant encouragement to go for creativity over crap. They freely share technique, and skill set even though they do make a living from paid mentor ship programs. They take the time (when they can) to directly respond to people who chime in with questions. They are open minded. Their's also some very cool folks involved with Presonus and their Studio One Software who have demonstrated that they will directly reach out to help or advise when possible. They are Joe Gilder and Johnny Geib respectively.
On a larger scale, producers like Don Was just amaze me. His work with Johnny Cash just before Mr. Cash passed away is simply amazing. Hats off to the late Sir George Martin of course. All of his works, not just the Beatles. And many others I can think of at the moment.
Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
Most of my life I've been a "Hired Gun" Side Man for local bands. However, in the past few years and in conjuction with my fiancee Linda Keser, we've dived into the Indie Musician/Songwriting scene.
After seeing an interview by Warren Huart of "Produce Like A Pro" of an online musician and how he does Session Work for Production via the Internet I thought we'd give this a try as an additional income stream.
In today's world of Communication, DAW's, and so on...seems like anything is possible.
We just recently got to submit tracks in a contest to Warren Huart and Mark Laughman for their release of the song "Bitter Reaction." This was a wonderful experience as I got to submit tracks of my own musical skills along side the talents of Billy Sheehan on bass and Kenny Aronoff on drums. And of course produced, recorded and mixed by Warren Huart. It's always wonderful to work with A List Talent.