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Raspberry with Phil Ek Part II  

While I have no memory of the setlist played by Raspberry, I'm quite sure we would have played this rocker called William T. Ryker (yes, I know that's the wrong spelling). We played a lot of house shows back in the day--they were the best too. Every once in a while, however, we just had to go big. It wasn't often we got to host bands like Bikini Kill and Fitz of Depression. Someone in our community called up a member of Bikini Kill and invited them to play in Pullman, WA because that's the way shows happened pre-internet.

I remember it was difficult to load gear into the upstairs of the old Combine place. We had to climb some rickety stairs in the back. If you've never lifted a Fender Twin amplifier, I'm here to tell you they are back-breaking things. And putting on a show at the Combine meant renting the space, borrowing a P.A., and praying that kids would come out. On weekends, the Combine felt like a ballroom. It was our Filmore except with a small stage, which made us feel like we could all reach out and play each other's instruments. On weekdays, I also used to do my homework there as it was just a few blocks from my last apartment in Pullman. 

Oh yeah! The song... This is just another unreleased song from the Phil Ek recordings made in December of 1994 at John and Stu's in Seattle. Pay close attention to the guitar tone. We plugged my Les Paul Standard straight into some massive stainless steel pre-amp to get the kazoo-like fuzz. Phil didn't have to convince me it would be great. All he had to do was remind me that he did the same trick with Doug Martsch's guitar.

It's too bad Raspberry isn't out opening for Bikini Kill now. 

Thanks again to Warren Gardiner for mastering this track. Please seek him out at www.gardineraudio.com for all your mixing and mastering needs. Also, please excuse the horrible digital noise at the end of this track. Warren tried really hard to clean this up but unfortunately, due to the nature of how long this was stored on Digital Audio Tape (DAT), there was nothing to be done. Think of it as a little extra feedback! Many thanks to Sean Lennon for transferring the DAT to computer. Much appreciated, amigo!

Raspberry with Phil Ek Part I  

Maybe we were in pursuit of our version of anthemic punk, emotional discord, or simply the right party to play at. I don't know what we were searching for, but I do know we loved the music we made twenty five years ago, and now, I am so excited to share some of this unreleased Raspberry music with you. In December of 1994, at the urging of Doug Martsch (Treepeople, Built to Spill), this little punk band trekked to Seattle so we could record with Phil Ek at John and Stu's. 

Once we released our 7" record and at least one full-length cassette, we began touring the region. Boise was always a favorite spot. Performing was exhilerating, but so was catching an early Built to Spill show at the local Neurolux bar after we played an early all ages show one night. To see and hear Doug Martsch sing those early songs and step on several distortion pedals at once was amazing. He was right there in front of my face singing "Christmas Twin Falls Idaho..." And he was nice! He just might be the nicest guy in rock. When he was not performing, he was tending bar. One night we were chatting and he said, "I like your band and I think you should record with Phil Ek." He put us in touch and the rest is history. 

We prepared studiously for the recordings. Not only did we practice a lot (often without singing so as to focus on the instrumentation) but we also strategized with Phil on the phone. I remember Tom asking him about drum heads, when to put new ones on, and best heads for the snare. We crashed at Thomas Metcalf's house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle. This was still very much the era of the Seattle Sound, so we were in it as far as we were concerned. It was an exciting time. We had high expectations for releasing this music. Until we didn't! Soon afterwards, Shawn left for graduate school in Virginia, and Tom and I joined up with Jeff Albertson to form a new band. So, the recordings just sat gathering digital dust. 

This first song is called "Stuck to the floor." Like previously shared Raspberry music on this blog, it features lyrics both Shawn and I wrote. The professionalism heard in this recording, I think, is obvious. I can still see Phil Ek, flashlight in hand, adjusting the microphone in front of my amp by inches to get the sound he wanted. We spent one full day just getting drum sounds. 

Thanks again to Warren Gardiner for mastering this track. Please seek him out at www.gardineraudio.com for all your mixing and mastering needs. Also, please excuse the horrible digital noise at the end of this track. Warren tried really hard to clean this up but unfortunately, due to the nature of how long this was stored on Digital Audio Tape (DAT), there was nothing to be done. Think of it as a little extra feedback! Many thanks to Sean Lennon for transferring the DAT to computer. Much appreciated, amigo!

A punk band: Raspberry Part III   

Song: Girl

Details:  

Recorded early 1994 in Spokane, WA at Jello Tree Studio by John Salvo. Co-released on Nervous Wreckords late 1994 as one of two songs from Side B of 7" record.  

I'll just let you ponder these lyrics for a bit:

Come around 'cause you know I'll be waiting, sitting on the toilet I'm singing about my town, just dying to impress you - mumble mumble mumble - you're taking this too hard... whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa girl that I can't have... even though the cousins of my elephants, sitting in the backyard singing about my town, starting to impress you - mumble mumble mumble (come on Shawn, learn to articulate!) - you're taking this too hard... whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa girl that I can't have... 

And with that, we close the one official vinyl release Raspberry ever had! There were three songs in total with cover art by Shawn Camp. We skipped Kinko's in favor of having the covers printed in Lewiston, ID by a pro. We lucked out because, although we budgeted for a lesser quality printing, the print-shop owner said "In the end I went with he higher quality because I thought it would look nicer - no extra charge!"

"Distributed by K" stickers were coveted; they meant the records were approved by the arbiters of taste at K. We wanted one. We stuffed the records in covers and plastic sleeves one summer day at my old upstairs unit in Pullman, WA. I think we wrote, in crayon, a letter to Calvin Johnson at K Records asking him to consider distribution. We received a letter back (maybe from Calvin) saying they would take so many copies. We got our sticker!

Technical Specs:  

Machine: Tascam MSR 16 1/2” with Soundtracs MRX 24x8x16 console; mixed to Tascam 32 two-track machine; backed up on DAT  

Microphones: AKG 414, EV RE-20, Sure SM57, Groove Tube MD 1a, various Audio Technica  

The room was a large spacious warehouse up a few floors from the street in downtown Spokane, WA.   

Special thanks to Warren Gardiner for mastering this track. You can find him at www.gardineraudio.com

A punk band: Raspberry Part II  

                                      Tom on drums, Shawn on bass - photo by Chris Lundeen                                              

Song: Empty Beer Can

Details: 

Recorded early 1994 in Spokane, WA at Jello Tree Studio by John Salvo. Co-released on Nervous Wreckords late 1994 as one of two songs from Side B of 7" record. 

Here is another example of our lovely little sound. Empty Beer Can features my immature lyrics about a girl, coupled with the proverbial "la la la" vocals on the chorus. I owned a really special Telecaster-style guitar at the time and this is definitely it. And I must say, that listening back to these recordings brings me right into the physical space in which they were recorded. I was positioned to the right of Tom while Shawn was to the the left. I used to prop my amplifier up on my old red, white, and blue roller-skate case. Because of the volume we created as a power trio, it must have been difficult for the engineer, John Salvo, to manage all the guitar and bass bleeding into the drums. I must admit, however, that I prefer recording this way to this day.

And this was also the beginning of my interest in recording. The vocals and a few additional guitars were overdubbed and I specifically remember John placing the AKG 414 microphone at or around the 12th fret of my acoustic guitar. He asked me, "Do you mostly want to hear the strings?" I guess my answer was "Yes!"

Technical Specs: 

Machine: Tascam MSR 16 1/2” with Soundtracs MRX 24x8x16 console; mixed to Tascam 32 two-track machine; backed up on DAT 

Microphones: AKG 414, EV RE-20, Sure SM57, Groove Tube MD 1a, various Audio Technica 

The room was a large spacious warehouse up a few floors from the street in downtown Spokane, WA.  

 

Special thanks to Warren Gardiner for mastering this track. You can find him at www.gardineraudio.com

A punk band: Raspberry Part I  

Song: My Brother Pat

Details:

Recorded early 1994 in Spokane, WA at Jello Tree Studio by John Salvo. Co-released on Nervous Wreckords late 1994 as Side A to 7" record.

Technical Specs:

Machine: Tascam MSR 16 1/2” with Soundtracs MRX 24x8x16 console; mixed to Tascam 32 two-track machine; backed up on DAT

Microphones: AKG 414, EV RE-20, Sure SM57, Groove Tube MD 1a, various Audio Technica

The room was a large spacious warehouse up a few floors from the street in downtown Spokane, WA. 

I was in a real punk band, complete with nonsensical and heavily repeated lyrics, a beat often over 100 BPM, and a few guitar solos! One of these bands was called Raspberry. We were a good band. We played all over Moscow, ID and Pullman, WA from late 1992 to early 1994. We ventured on tour over to Seattle, WA and down to Boise, ID as well. We had a blast! Shawn Camp sang and played a bass that was a precursor to his career as a painter. Tom Hudson played an old Pearl President drum kit. I sang and played a Les Paul through a half-stack. The three of us had many adventures together and I love these guys dearly.

I remember it felt really good to play this music. It was loud and generated real energy. Shawn and I could never hear each other sing (which might explain why our lyrics are so different and our songs don't make any sense). Tom was and still is a badass drummer. We called him Tommy "Ricky Hurricane" Hudson. Maybe he just called himself that. We were a power trio influenced by some of our collective favorite trios at the time: Firehose, The Meices, Sebadoh, Dinosaur Jr. and a local band - Sugar Daddies. 

Special thanks to Warren Gardiner for mastering this track. You can find him at www.gardineraudio.com

January 6, 2019: new song on rainy evening in SF 

Here is a new song I worked up over the holidays. While it's true that it has many elements of other songs I have written, there seems to be something worth chasing in this particular untitled tune. What shall I do with it?

Technical Specs: 

Camera: iPhone XR

Microphone: Shure MV88

Application: MOTIV

Scott Songs: December 2018 

Song: Golden Boy, Glenda, and Shamoo

I wanted to tell a Christmas story in the story-telling style of Tom T. Hall and Johnny Cash. Here's what I came up with. It's the story of three misfit barflies accused of stealing the local Methodist’s baby Jesus. Set in a small town we may as well call Clarkston, the three barflies search their souls, download an app, and save Christmas - likely all by their third beer.

Merry Christmas!

Technical Specs           

Machine: Reaper DAW

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75) chained with an RNC compressor   

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033, Sure SM57, Cascade M39 stereo pair 

Rhythm Guitar: 1963 Gibson B-25, 1991 Les Paul Standard through Fender Blues amp

Lead Guitar: 1991 Les Paul Standard      

Bass: 1970s Univox Beatle copy    

Drums: free drum app, sleigh bells from my dad's old farmhouse, rim shot and brushes on 60s Ludwig snare, old wooden tambourine

Misc: harmonica

Special thanks to my kids, Cy, and Nadine, as well as my wife Christina for singing background vocals.

Recorded and produced at home by myself. Mixed and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. I want to thank Warren for his incredible dedication to a year's worth of music production assistance. This song in particular was the result of many mixes just to get it right. You know what Warren said to me? He said, "Hey mate, no worries at all about being picky, the client has to be happy! Made the changes and proceeded straight to mastering, but can still make further changes if you need." Here is his website so you can seek him out and benefit from his experience and expertise: www.gardineraudio.com

Aloha and Merry Christmas 

I went to Hawaii in search of Magnum PI. May have stumbled into Elvis when I bought this shirt. Went to the beach with my smart phone in my pocket. Went swimming. Left the beach without my smart phone in my pocket. Not real smart after all. But, I did buy a new and special ukulele and I have this Christmas gift for you.

Mahalo,

Scott

Scott Songs: November 2018  

Song: Fixed

I took a collage approach to writing when I set the drums up in my studio for this song. I played along to a metronome set at four difference speeds to achieve four different potential frameworks to build upon. This, I believe, is the third performance. I smiled at their cardboard sound and nodded at the space I left for other potential cutouts. I then played bass. I chose notes that simply felt nice to me. These were the larger scraps of paper. I tried not to think too much about patterns. Instead I let the drums guide me and help me establish a mood with a nice balance of tension (the low end on the Tascam 388 coupled with the flabby drums helped too). Once the framework was set, I asked, Where does space remain in this piece and where should it be sacred? I worked out a simple ascending piano line to further capture the mood and tone set by the rhythm tracks. This felt like a long jagged tear right through the middle. My 12-string electric added shimmer like scissors threatening subtle manipulation. I let the glue dry for a few weeks before returning to the piece. 

I have had an old accordion 10-inch record set that I have never bothered to listen to. I placed it on my old school-house record player which was mic'ed up and ready to go. Now I love serendipities as much as the next guy, so please imagine my smiling face as the first track of the first record just happened to tonally wash over the entire piece. I lifted the tone arm up and down in rhythm and felt where it needed to be. Then I was finished. 

Technical Specs          

Machine: Tascam 388 finished on Pro Tools First

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)     

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033, Sure SM 57, Cascade M39 stereo pair

Lead Guitar: 12-string Danelectro       

Bass: 1970s Univox Beatle copy   

Drums: Rewrapped sparkle kit made from junk shells

Keys: Yamaha console piano

Recorded and produced at home by myself. Mixed and mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Warren is a great engineer. He will do a great job on any audio project you bring to him - highly recommended! Please contact me for more information.

Scott Songs: October 2018  

Song: Packing up (Atari of my dreams)

I remember being a DJ at KZUU in Pullman, WA. The new music every fall was the best. Maybe that's why this particular season has always been a sentimental time for making music. This new song embodies what I love about fall in many ways. It acknowledges change in my life - where I've been and where I am and that I have enough. Here's how it happened...

I recently retrieved the last of my belongings from a basement in Portland, OR. As I packed up these things I experienced utter filth, sweat, and rat shit. Lots of rat shit. I also experienced joy, sorrow, and happiness. Lots of it. I went through old letters, and memorabilia from old concerts I played. I packed up an extensive collection of Oregon license plates spanning over 100 years. I even salvaged the Atari 2600 from my youth (it still works FYI). I went through photos and I packed up cameras that took the photos. I gathered up my very first guitar as well as a trumpet case. When I opened up the case I thought now where in the hell is the trumpet? Things change... Things disappear... Things remain... 

Technical Specs         

Machine: Tascam 388 

Pre-amp: Art Tube Pre (the one with presets for about $75)   

Effects: Roland RE-20 Space Echo Reissue 

Microphone: Audio Technica 4033, Sure SM 57   

Rhythm: 1963 Gibson B 25   

Lead Guitar: 1991 Gibson Les Paul Standard      

Bass: 1970s Univox Beatle copy  

Drums: 1960s Ludwig Snare, off brand medium crash cymbal

Keys: Korg SV-1

Recorded and produced at home by myself. Mastered by Warren Gardiner at Gardiner Audio in Melbourne, AUS. Warren is a great engineer. He will do a great job on any audio project you bring to him - highly recommended!