Band Practice

I finally did it. I finally brought the 16 channel USB audio interface and all of my microphones to practice. Two overhead mics for the drums, one for the bass amp, one for the guitar amp, and then three lines out of the PA mixer into three channels for the three vocal mics. Then plug the USB into my MacBook and BANG, multi-tracked rehearsal tapes. Amazing.

Of course I didn’t set any of it up. By the time I had my recently rearranged pedal board plugged in and tested everyone had arrived so we just started playing. Next time. Maybe. Hopefully. I hesitate to set this up for two reasons. One, I’m afraid that my planning won’t work somehow and something won’t come out at all and I’ll be embarrassed. Two, my mixes will sound like dog shit and I’ll be embarrassed. Next week though. Yeah, next week.

How’d the new pedals do? The Wren and Cuff Super Russian is everything I hoped it would be. I used it for all but two songs and it cut through the mix and sounded filthy and ferocious and wonderful. All aboard the fuzz train, babie! WOO WOO! The Wampler Tape Echo was also everything I hoped it would be. All aboard the tap tempo train, babie! WOO WOO! The only thing I wish for that pedal would be to have the subdivision button be a foot switch so I could tap out the tempo in quarter notes and then switch to the dotted eighth setting. I managed it once but I had to reach down and do it by hand. Other than that, it worked great and the other guys noticed when I was playing with it. Finally, I am not the biggest fan of the TC Electronic Hall of Fame Mini reverb pedal, but I moved it to the end of the chain and it’s better than it was. It just seems to have a hard time with subtle. I want a hint of reverb and the knob tends to go from just-about-nothing to OH-MY-GOD-THAT’S-A-LOT-OF-REVERB. I managed to find a useable setting though. It will probably be tweaked endlessly, but for last night it was okay.

We have a bunch of new songs in the works but it had been three weeks since the last practice and they were pretty rough. They were okay for a second practice, but they will be much better with a little more work. I once heard one of these songs at a little boy’s funeral. I was impressed with myself for being able to concentrate on playing the guitar rather than balling my eyes out. Good job, Robert. We’re trying an REO Speedwagon song which is something I’d never have imagined. All I can say about it is the harmony vocals are incredibly, extremely, ridiculously high. I have two lines to sing. I can hit the first one, but I’m just barely missing the second one. I’ll get it. I might need to do a little minor surgery on my vocal chords, but I’ll get it. Finally, we added another country song. Our singer is a country fan and we occasionally throw him a bone in the hopes he’ll let us play “American Girl”, or maybe some Pearl Jam. Usually though, the country songs he picks don’t sound like country when we’re through with them. Such is the case with this new one. We take the shit kicking out of it and make it sound like it’s being played by a grunge cover band. Mission accomplished.

Hopefully we can get together next week so I can play with multi-tracking. Also, hopefully we don’t forget anything we learned this week.

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