"Om" meets "Oh Yeah!" Recording vocals with Toby in a yoga studio.
Yesterday rocked. Literally. Because at around 11:30 AM, I met up with Toby Germano, who’d driven down from Sonoma, and the two of us headed off to a yoga studio to record some vocals over a track called 43@22.
Toby and I have known each other since high school, and since we’re both in our 40s, that’s a long time. Back in the late seventies, we formed a few bands, then in the eighties there was another one, and finally in the 90s, I decided I so completely sucked at music that the best thing to do was to give it up. Despite my bailing on the band, Toby stayed friends with me (says a lot for the man’s character, which runs deep) and these days, nearly twenty years since I walked out on Germano Warfare, we are once again doing music together.
Things got refired in 2006-7, after I decided to finally record an album and Toby offered to me me pick a rhythm section (winners: Andy Korn, Sam Bevan) and play on some songs. To show my gratitude, I produced a four-song EP for Toby. In just a few days, Toby was done (that’s how he rolls), and the EP, called Inconsolable, soon appeared on iTunes and other places.
We then got to work on a few my tunes, but when it came time for Toby to lay down some lead vocals, things went a touch awry. We were at Hyde Street, Jaime Durr was engineering and the songs on deck were Demons and Saints and 43@22. First up was Demons, which Toby nailed, delivering a classic rock vocal performance that gives the tune a slight menace and keeps the overall performance feeling just on the tight side of loose. Then we cued up 43 and whatever vibe was hanging with us decided to step out and buy some crack in the surrounding neighborhood, never to return. We all left feeling good and bad, good about Demons and bad about 43.
But Toby took to playing the song live up in Sonoma, and in the process identified and rectified some melodic problems. He sent me a quick demo of how he was playing the song, and I knew right away we were ready to record again. This time, though, we would dispense with the big time studio. Instead, we used a yoga studio my yoga teacher told me about eons ago and where I now go to record vocal demos on days I feel up for singing (makes me very dizzy, so I keep the crooning to a minimum). For a mic, we used Toby’s Shure SM 58, plugged it straight into my M-Box 2 Pro, which was connected my laptop and we were… crap, Toby’s headphone cable shorted out and by the way where the hell was my Firewire cable for the external drive and oh a music stand would have been nice and why is Pro Tools behaving oddly and… we were off. The recording process was so fast, Toby and I communicating in real time and face-to-face (no control room window to get in the way), me running Pro Tools and not having to relay info to anyone else, we were done in about an hour and 30 minutes. And 43@22 finally came together.
I felt 22 at 46. Toby, you rock!