Saturday, June 7, 1997

My first CD

Toronto. Had a few friends over and we listened to the tracks I recorded at the Studio at Puck's Farm with Victor Bateman on bass and Mike Fitzpatrick on drums. Scott Cushnie (aka Professor Piano) played piano on 4 of the cuts. We recorded at Puck's Farm, a studio/theme park owned by my producer from the 70s, Frazier Mohawk. Fraz gave me some studio time and the musicians all did it for no charge, probably because they knew if they didn't nudge me it would probably never get done.

It started when Victor Bateman heard some of my original tunes at my 50th birthday party/jam session. I hardly knew him but he mentioned that he knew someone with a DAT machine and some good mics and we should go over and record some of my originals. The DAT machine belonged to a guitar player/radio guy...Bill Grove..and we spent an afternoon recording some of my new tunes. Next thing you know, we're in the big studio at Puck's Farm with the renowned engineer Phil Sheridan. Phil was a bit of a curmudgeon ("I don't like mixing other people's shit and I don't like other people mixing my shit"). The first session I started to rattle off the full names of the songs as he was writing a track sheet and he said "make it one word - I'm going to be writing this many times."

I lassoed Scott Cushnie at the Silver Dollar at the Toronto Blues Society's Birthday Party and when I mentioned that I was going to be driving up to the studio the following Monday, he asked me for a lift because he needed to have a meeting with Frazier Mohawk. I happened to have a rehearsal tape in my pocket so I gave it to him and asked him to listen to the tunes and see if there was anything he'd like to try putting a piano track on. He overdubbed some great piano tracks. Later Gene Hardy put some horns on a couple of tunes (actually, Gene was the only one who didn't do it for free - he asked for fifty bucks for gas). For the cover art I used a drawing (a self portrait, I guess) that is one of my rare attempts at producing a piece of visual art. At least I made the most of it.

After listening to a great set by Morgan Davis (who has a new drummer, Paul...) I went over to Grossman's to give Mike Fitzpatrick a rehearsal tape - he was playing with Michael Picket. Pickett was playing great, but in his inimitable style, refused to do an encore and even teased the audience by walking back up to the stage not once, but twice, to gather his gear.