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Entry date: 5-24-2022 - Studio Time - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

Over the previous weekend, The Father Figures went in the studio again. We are recording five new(ish) songs. I say new-ish because we’ve been working on them, in some form or the other, since before the beginning of the pandemic.

We record at Villain Recording in Paradise Valley. My longtime friend, Byron, is the owner/engineer and he simply rules. He has a wonderful board-side manner, and we laugh all day long while making great sounding music. We first met, if I remember correctly, in the early 2000s on a North Side Kings record. Fairly soon after that, we recorded the first Pinky record there, too, and from there it was almost a yearly thing to work with him on something.

Because I want to geek out on this (and bear with me) here is a list of things I’ve worked on with Byron:

North Side Kings – Organizing our Neighborhood (2004)

Soulfly – demos (for Prophecy. Danny NSK and I helped on three or four songs) (2004)

Pinky Tuscadero’s White Knuckle Assfuck – Halfway to Honky Heaven (2005)

North Side Kings – Suburban Royalty (2008)

The Father Figures – Lesson No. 1 (2010)

Pinky Tuscadero’s White Knuckle Assfuck – The Apology (2011)

The Father Figures – All About Everything (2012)

The Father Figures – UFO EP/JFA Comp (2013)

The Father Figures – Steps and Processes (2014)

Brand New Christ – self-titled (2016) (unreleased, much to my chagrin)

The Father Figures – Heavy Lifting (2017)

U.S. Bombs – Road Case (2018)

The Father Figures – TBD (2022)

I think I am forgetting something but that’s okay. Maybe not. In several of the above recording sessions, we (being a few of the bands) did songs that made it on to various comps and such. I played a few bass lines on the U.S. Bombs record, but I am not particularly proud of it. It was something I did for the good of Slope Records.

So, we have some history. The Father Figures love working with Byron, and I can confidently say the feeling is mutual. We had a little love fest on Sunday to confirm it. I couldn’t recommend working with Byron enough if you are looking to make a record that will sound great. He also does a fantastic job of mastering the sessions, too.

I love watching Byron work.

The guy is a master at what he does. He has had a huge hand in making The Father Figures sound good. He’s also awesome at fixing any little errors we make during the session. He knows his gear, to say the least, and makes it looks so easy.

We’ve also shared the stage a few times, too. Byron filled in with Pinky at least once for a show we did at the Crescent Ballroom with Truck Fighters and Crobot. He also joined NSK for three shows we did in the bay area in 2007. That was a super fun weekend. When we (The Father Figures) played Punk Rock Bowling in 2018, we gave Byron one of our guestlist slots and it was awesome to have him there. We have great pictures of that trip and had so much fun.

One of the highlights of the trip was the third show, which was at the legendary 924 Gilman Street venue in Berkeley. Some really nice dudes from an east bay band had set up the shows for us and let us stay with them on the first night after a show in San Jose. We were well oiled after playing two shows, the second of which was in San Francisco for a Malt Soda party.

By the time we got to Berkeley, we were tight and ready to roar. There was an enthusiastic crowd there and my friend, Chumley, showed up. I miss that guy and may he rest in peace/power. Anyway, we had a very good time that night, too. Rhondi had flown up and met us after the first show and it was her first time in the bay area, so it was fun to show her around a bit. We got a rad deal on a hotel room in San Francisco the first night and felt like rich folks for a night. If they would have only known we were riff raff from a hardcore band.

I have gone down a rabbit hole here. Sorry…I was going to talk about the weekend of recording.

Considering it was our first recording session in about five years, we are still a tight unit. We had been working hard to get ready for this session and the preparation paid off. We did five songs. As of right now, their working titles are as follows:

In America

Funny Hats


How To Ignore Someone


Bobby and Michael more than make up for my impatience with the recording process and have ears that are much better at picking out things that sound off. Being in a band with them for the past 13 years, though, has really made me a better musician when it comes to recording. I don’t let on a lot, but I’m hearing a lot of things more clearly than I used to when it comes to recording.

They are also fantastic at encouraging all of us to do and be our best in the studio. Things can get heated in recording sessions if someone isn’t pulling their weight. I have had a few experiences where people were wasting time or not prepared, and it just sucks. Time is money in the recording studio and when someone is basically doing a form of musical masturbation, it is a huge drag.

It’s amazing to me, though, that even after 13 years of being a band, we are continually pushing each other to do better and grow. It’s crazy to think that this batch of songs is better than the ones on our last record, which I was extremely proud of when it came out in 2017. Hard to believe it’s been five years already.

They are all political/socially conscious-type songs. That’s not a new thing for us, though. We laid down all the bass and drums, except for a bass edit, on Friday night and then did guitars and a few fixes on Saturday. Sunday was keyboards (yes, we now have keys/synth in the band) and vocals.

It is always fun for me to do the vocals when we record. Fun and challenging, to be honest, because I often don’t really know the lyrics as we are preparing for a recording. I usually re-work the words I’ve written down over the weeks or months prior when we get in the studio. I often must adjust as we go to make things fully fit or work. This is because I tend to make up the lyrics as I go along in practice and, sometimes, shows until I finalize them on a record.

Sometimes the words come easy and there aren’t any changes, but often times, I do some major revisions at the last minute. Sunday was no different. On “In America,” for example, I had to change the cadence of how I sang the song to make it work a bit better. I think it turned out well. You’ll have to be patient, though, as we haven’t even mixed anything yet. I will post some songs when I can.

Proud of this batch, for sure. Once we are all done traveling for the summer, we can start work on the next batch.

See you tomorrow.

The live room at Villain. I love making recordings here.

A playlist of things I've done at Villain...

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