Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pittsburgh: Papa J's Centro

This past Saturday, I tried out a new venue in Pittsburgh! Papa J's Centro, right across from PPG Plaza, is an Italian restaurant converted from an old-school brothel, which they advertise fairly prominently. Why they do that, I'm not sure -- rarely do you see marketing that lowers your expectations for sexual conduct -- but they're happy, and I'm happy.

My expectations weren't lofty (especially after I found out that the Dave Matthews Band was playing at PNC Park, less than a mile from my little venue), but you guys came through! It was so great to play to a nicely crowded (if not vacuum-packed) house, full of receptive fans ready to receive new tunage while reliving some of our favorite moments from the "days of auld lang cafe-au-lait" -- and it was so much fun that we're going to do it again!

Right after everyone left, Jeffrey and I scheduled our next date, for August 28. Mark yinz calendars!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Studio blog: Jerk

....So you've all heard "Jerk" by now -- it has a driving four-on-the-floor rhythm, which lends itself to an implied drum part. I was on the way to the studio a few weeks ago and was listening to Elvis Costello's "Get Happy," and thinking about how much I love "King Horse," a song that I don't think was very popular but which features one of Pete Thomas' best drum lines:

Start with four kicks on the beat. (1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4)

Add, in alternating occurance, a snare, a high hat, and a floor tom, on the 'and' between 4 and 1. (1 2 3 4 snare 1 2 3 4 hat 1 2 3 4 tom 1 2 3 4 snare....)

The chorus explodes into a more straight beat, dropping the polyrythm before it can resolve. It's so rad. I decided I wanted to steal it pay homage to it with "Jerk."

Mark was on board, but while he was checking his level, he started doing a pattern that went (kick kick kick tom kick-snare hat kick kick....) and it was so cool I dropped the straight lift in favor of that.

For the bridge, he started out with a four-snare approach, and I said, "It feels like it's too long a bridge for that snare to have any impact. Why don't you try four-on-the-floor and throw in scattered discourse from the toms? The kick will totally drive the bridge."

IT WORKED! It sounds so good, you guys. Drums all over the place. I can't wait for you to hear it.