Thursday, August 30, 2007
I Am What I Am (instrumental remix)
I am what I am (instrumental remix)
volume 3 number 17
one of my favorite recording periods was my time spent
in Lake Geneva, Wisconsinin Royal Recorders
with the team of myself, rich denhart, and dan harjung.
the studio was a dream come true;
a beautiful room in the woods of Wisconsin
attached to what was once the Playboy Resort
(now called the Americana)
which featured a world-class golf course,
ski resort, fine dining, a small lake, and hundreds of rooms.
in the Playboy days it was supposedly rockin'.
they had buffalo roaming the grounds,
Frank Sinatra playing the lounge,
even a heliport.
but by the time we arrived it was the Americana,
more like the Shining;
a huge, mostly empty complex
which we had all to ourselves.
still the studio was world-class.
a 90-channel SSL mixing board with total recall,
linked to 2 Mitsubishi 32-track machines
(the latest in digital recording)
with 40 vintage microphones, a 9-foot baby grand,
and all the best outboard gear money could buy.
most days it was just me, rich, and dan in recording studio heaven.
the result was mr. music head, young lions, inner revolution,
and the first two bears records; not a bad run.
on October 17, 1989 I started a new track.
as usual I was playing all the instruments.
I had my new Ayotte kit and a new set of Paiste cymbals
(still have 'em) adding to which I included
the Roland Octapad, an early drum sampler
which allowed us to put my favorite sounds
(japanese fans, the striking of the bridge on my dobro,
log drums, guitar noises, etc.) on 8 different pads
which could then be played as part of the drum kit.
it was great fun resulting in drum tracks like bird in a box,
small world, or the song featured here I am what I am.
for bass in this song I used a sampler as well.
triggered from my guitar,it was easy to play
and had an unusual fretless-through-an-overdriven-amp
sound which I really loved.
I used a similar bass approach for songs like
happy guy, gunman, and pretty pink rose.
my guitar rig of the moment was set up
in the large comfortable control room
which had big windows looking out into the recording room.
most everything guitar-wise was
recorded direct into the digital console.
for things like the handclaps and shouts
we used my favorite microphone,
the expensive vintage AKG C-24
which is actually two mics put together for stereo.
it's the same C-24 I have used all these years
for my vocals (I still do).
I actually had to go to court to win my C-24,
but that's a story for another day.
the coolest thing about the guitar playing for
I am what I am
are the bits sounding like a combination
of metal scraping and human voices
which are peppered throughout the solos.
these were made by rubbing
a long flat carpenter's file across the guitar strings.
the astounding thing was this:
for some unknown reason the file made
what sounded like human voices.
it was creepy but we loved it.
I am what I am is one of those rare songs I had no melody for.
I figured it would end up an instrumental as heard here.
then one day while studying the music,
I realized it would be the perfect place
for the prophet omega's voice,
which is yet another story for another day.
bass, drums, guitar, carpenter file: adrian
engineer: rich denhart
assistant: dan harjung
recorded at Royal Recorders in Lake Geneva, Wis. on October 17, 1989
this re-mix was done on october 20, 1989