Preparing for a recording date.

Sometimes just going into the studio COLD is fruitful and spontaneous, but it can also be an expensive experiment gone awry if things don't go well.  We almost always record live and like this last record, no isolation or fixes which adds to the rolling of the dice effect.  It is very possible to have musicians lose it, computers constantly crashing, engineers with crazy ideas, bad headphone mixes, and sometimes the band (or is it me) just sounds off.  Nowadays we try to prepare and "feel out" those involved ahead of time to minimize problems and get something useful.  The concept that "recording does not lie and what you put down is how you sound" is true and hard to swallow for a lot of musicians,  That;s one reason I tape the band quite a bit to correct any stuff before going into the trenches.  I have been physically ill over the years listening to how I really sound and better to know where you are than being "shocked" come recording time.

First thing I do is try to get the songs together.  What demos do we have from last session? What riffs can we use to form songs? What stuff that works live should we try out? What lyrics are new or unused?  Its not rocket science or too serious, most of our songs are pretty crude compared to most comparisons. But they have to be honest and almost always come from 2 extremes: real day to day life or fantasies.  Smoke will have some grooves and we get together and see what lyrics work with some of his stuff and just hash it out.

Next I try to work out our little arrangements and absorb the song so its natural. However I don't want it to be too rehearsed so when its sounding ok I usually move on so there is some freshness. I also try to always bring a few unrehearsed grooves or songs in and just jam them with the band.  Never tell what you can get!

Finally, I choose and get the right sequence of songs and try to envision the session going well. I used to try to envision how the album will sound but it always seems to come out different than what I planned,  So I have gotten more relaxed about it and just let things happen when we finally get in there.  
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So it can be a challenge to capture the rawness and feeling of a live band, but that's what I go for but do not always achieve. I think this time we did. 

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