David Martone: That's a pretty cool shot right? We needed an album cover and there were two working images. The one that is on the inside of the CD, and of course the cover. We were trying to go with the opposite contrast thing. Clean look against a dirty back wall and a dirty look against a clean background. Well, we ended up with a dirty look against a dirty background with a wicked font with the word "Clean" all distorted and falling apart!
I think the cover has attitude, and believe it or not, it is just a polaroid and has all kinds of specks and dirt on the photo. Quite fitting for the cover!
David Martone: Paul has always been very talented! He can sing, play guitar, bass, keyboards, accordion, write great songs, draw with both hands - just a real talented mofo! Paul has his own music going on which you should check out! He recently also built a new spray shop in the back of my garage! He will be doing custom paint jobs on motorbikes, guitars and anything people give him. What a talented dude!
David Martone: Magna Carta has been around for a while. I was shopping around for labels to put out the record. My friend Ric Fierabracci put in a word for me and I then was speaking to a Peter Morticelli. When Peter and I first spoke, we did not even talk about the record. We basically just chatted about everything but. I think it was a "let's check out what each other has to say" kind of situation. Peter and I hit it off right away and were chatting like old school buddies!
After the initial phone meeting, we were discussing more things on the phone one day. On this particular day I was taking my laptop in for repair since many of the keys were flying off the damn keyboard every time I was using it. It kept crashing and locking up, so I threw it in the trunk of my car and off I went to a dentist appointment. I was doing the bulk of my work on this computer and was in touch with other record companies as well at the time of negotiations. On this particular day I was waiting for an important email from Favored Nations but had to leave for my appointment. I'm in the dentist chair getting my teeth scraped and noticed that Peter had called a few times. Of course I could not talk to him at that moment so I waited until I was out of the office. I called Peter on my walk back to my parked car, and we were chatting about the contract. I got in my car and started to drive home. I went to reach for the radio to play a mix in the background as I was chatting with Peter. I always love listening to mixes of the album in the car at all different levels. So I go to turn it on and - my freaking stereo is gone! WTF? I'm pissed because this is the third time my stereo has been stolen from my car! I'm pissed! Peter asks if everything is OK, and I tell him what just happened.
OK, I continue driving home talking about the contract with Peter. I am headed back home and want to check my email to see if the other company has responded to my email. I get home and as I am talking to Peter, I walk into my office at home to check my laptop for the email. I turn white as a ghost - I forgot my laptop was in the trunk! I go running out to the car with Peter on the phone, open the trunk as fast as possible to see that my laptop is - gone!
I pretty much freaked out and told Peter I have to go!
That laptop had all my info on it! I hate thieves! I hate thieves! I hate thieves! Man was I pissed. Luckily I had 95% of everthing backed up at home on an external hard drive.
I was leaving 3 days after to do my summer tour and all my friends told me to get a Mac. So I did, and I have to say - yes, I love it! There is this cool program that I was informed about called Skype. I'll tell you this. It got me through the summer!
Oh yeah. Magna Carta is a wicked label and are interested in working with me for career development. It's quite awesome to be a part of a great time with Dan, Jeremy, Barbara and Peter all focusing on the same goal. Making the record happen and hopefully sell many many units!
David Martone: Well, I tried to get Joe Satriani to play on a track on the last album, "When The Aliens Come", put out in 2007 from Lion Music. Unfortunately that did not work out, and he left it open for something in the future that might work out. I really wanted to get this next record done to see if I could get him interested in a track. I think that was the initial spark that made me think of having these guests on the record. Most all of them I have worked with before, or have hung out with before.
I met Joe in a studio in Vancouver while he was doing his "Super Colossal" album. We first met then through a friend of mine named Jane. I participated on a track called "Crowd Chant" That was tons of fun! From there we have done a wack load of videos for workshoplive.com called The Satch Zone. We hit it off at the San Francisco sessions, and there will be more recorded next year.
I am just so honored and humbled to have the amazing talents of Joe on my record. He is such a class act as a player, and even more as a human being. I cannot say enough about what a special person Joe is!
Billy Sheehan, Greg Howe and Jennifer Batten were all guests of the National Guitar Workshop in the past. Jennifer and myself have done some clinics together for Digitech and Vox, which were a blast! Billy and myself have only jammed on acoustic guitars at a small bar in Connecticut before - that was a story!
Sheehan did a wicked and hilarious bass clinic there last year, and we hit it off instantly - he is such a funny, funny dude. After the clinic we went to downtown New Milford to have some dinner and a glass of wine or two. Well, what a hell of an amazing night we had. We started off with those glasses of wine at around six-ish and at that point we were approached from a couple of girls in the bar. They were new in town and were asking if we knew of any cool live music venues, since they said we looked like musicians (hmmm... nice pick up line). Actually as we got to talking. one of the girls was just starting, get this, bass lessons across the street. and she had taken like 4 or 5 lessons at this point. This was almost perfect, I asked this girl "Hey, have you ever heard of this amazing bass player named Billy Sheehan?" and she goes, "I think I heard of him."
I said, "Yeah he's pretty sick, one of the best bass players in the world," and she saysm "I have to check him out". Billy was just dying laughing at this point. I then told this girl that she had actually been talking to Billy and this was him. She went running out of the pub across the road to the music store and told the owner of the shop who came over a few minutes later with the latest issue of Bass Player Magazine and who the hell do you think was on the cover? Billy Sheehan!
What a trip and that's not all. They also brought over a few acoustic guitars from the shop and asked if we would play, well play we did, and play Billy did. He played straight from around 8 PM till closing, like 2 AM. He took one pee break. We were singing anything possible that anyone would request.
Here is the best part, the girl that I have been talking about requested a certain song that she had been learning on the bass and asked Billy to play it. He started to play it and then she said "You're playing it wrong Billy, it should be the 5th fret, not the 3rd fret" as she points to the neck of the guitar. Billy tries the 5th fret and goes "You're right". Man that was hilarious; he was the nicest guy the whole night. At the end, after a few more glasses of wine, I asked him if he would play on the record and that I had a perfect track for him with fast double bass and tons of notes, plus he'd get to have a long ass bass solo in the middle of the song. He accepted with a smile on his face. His performance is stunning on the track "Dinky Pinky", and his solo is just stellar. I am so honored to have him playing on this record and on this track.
David Martone: Honestly, they were all thought of after. The only track that I subconsciously thought of was "Angel Fish" written by myself and Steve Booke. This song was written with Joe in mind. It has that Lydian vibe that Joe loves and I thought it would be a perfect fit. Well, I guess it did not fit that well, since he chose the song "Nail Grinder" to play on! This was the last song I submitted to Joe, of about five choices to play on. I remember Daniel saying, "Leave him alone dude. He does not want to play on our record! Just leave him alone!" I could not take no for an answer.
I sent him "Nail Grinder" and Daniel thought I was nuts! He said, "He will never play on that track! It's too weird!" Well I did not hear from Joe for about two weeks, and I was about to throw in the towel, when I awoke one morning to get a small mp3 example of the solo section in "Nail Grinder" in my inbox. I could not believe my eyes! Then I needed to hear. so I clicked the link and it was like, I can't explain it. There are no words to hear a mentor of yours playing on one of your songs. There really are no words. I am not worthy! I am not worthy!
All the other tunes seemed to fit with Billy playing on "Dinky Pinky", which is fast and furious with a very amazing melodic solo that he put down, Jennifer kicking some whole tone righteous ass on "Moron Face", Greg Howe ripping up a fusion storm on "Hard Wired", and Ric laying it down on "Hard Wired" and also "Turn On The Heater", with an amazing bass solo!
David Martone: Well, Daniel wanted to choose "Hard Wired". He always loved that song. So did I. Until I learned that I had to figure it out and record it! That song is really really hard. Man, that was the toughest song on the record for me to do. I actually think I wanted to kill Daniel a few times as I was working on that track. The changes and timing are just so cool, unique and difficult!
We wanted to make the song cooler, in our own way, than the original. We wanted to "Martonize" it. I used a drop tuned Les Paul for the rhythm guitars on there. I think they were tuned to low C as well. We wanted it heavy and to kick some ass! The original is full of keyboards, but we wanted no part of keys on this track, or the record for that matter. Balls to the walls!
"Bossa Dorado". What an amazing song! I love that song. Such a simple song. Just two sections. Two! That's it! I like that. The melody carries the song. I used a Fender Strat tuned to Eb, but played it one fret higher to be in tune with the track. If I tuned it up, my Strat could not take it and the action was all wacked. I just kept it where it likes to be and worked around it.
David Martone: Come on, really? Well, it does have that very fast solo and also those egomaniacal super sweeps at the end. I just love comparison and contrast. Here is the trick. If you have a melody like the one in "Bossa Dorado", slow, melodic and just overall a beautiful melody, and you contrast that with a fast passage, the fast section will sound super fast because it was prefaced with a very slow beautiful melody. That is a Martone trick! Steal away! However, the sweeps at the end - yes, there are many notes in those. Probably way too many but, whatever.
David Martone: Honestly, Daniel recommended we use Ric on the bass for a few tracks. He said he was just wicked! I really did not know of Ric at this point. I did check him out online and just loved what he did. He was very precise with the tracks, and gave us a wicked bass tone. Wicked! When Ric came through town months ago, he was touring with Tom Jones and invited me out to the show. I was not going to go, but one of my buddies convinced me to go and check it out. It was pretty cool. I don't know what happened but at one point, all of these old ladies started to throw panites and bras onto the stage! What the hell is that all about?
David Martone: But of course! love the bass, it is really a very powerful instrument. I did a little bass solo on "When The Aliens Come" called "Pung Yao". Bass is just like guitar but, well... bigger! Both Billy and Ric laid down some awesome solos and it is nice to have them shine, instead of just holding down the low end. That is, of course, very important in the song, but man, with guys like that playing, you have to let them stretch out and kick the crap out what they do. And they both sure did!
David Martone: Yes, that was a fun little tune. Dino had me play a 8 or 16 measure solo. I cannot remember, but I do remember it was a fast tune with lots of dominant chords, one after another. I think I recorded it with a Parker and my George W 50. Dino is a splendid player and I wish him much success with his album.
David Martone: Yes. Neil is a great friend of mine who lives in Los Angeles at the moment.
We always try and write something when we get together in the summer for the Workshop. We sat in Neil's overheated, no air conditioned, full of boiling gear, with hardly any beer apartment and recorded the sketch demo version of the song. The ending was way different on the demo and parts changed, but the idea of the song was there. I'm surprised we both made it out alive from that apartment. It had to be like 130 degrees in there! Neil was so hot his neck was gushing sweat and my pants and shirt were stuck to my body! Thus the title of the song. I looked over at Neil as his face and neck were gushing sweat and I was just soaked through to the bone with my face boiling off, and said, "Hey Neil, it's a little cold in here... can you turn on the heater?!"
I know Neil is working on another CD at the moment. He is a very talented guitar player and one hell of a sweeper. "The Legend Of Sweeping Hollow", who does that? Neil does!
David Martone: Yes, I love doing all of the tasks for some reason. I must be insane! Sometimes it would be nice to have someone else do these things, and it might happen in the future, but for now, I am getting great enjoyment from it.
Well, the thing that changed the most from the "When The Aliens Come" CD was quite a few things, actually. I will start with the drums.
There were quite a few changes in this department. First was the room and floor where the drums were recorded. There used to be quite a bit of carpet on the walls and on the floor. We ripped that out (dad and me) and exposed way more wood. That made a huge difference in the sound of the drums. You can read about that here. When recording, I also made sure to record stereo drum room mics. This helped immensely in the live sound of the kit. Also, I did not use as many triggers on the drums. They might be there in some songs, but are mixed very light, so the drums sound much more natural and real, and not so processed. I used the parallel bussing technique on the drums that you can read about here.
In the guitar department, I tried to use real amps and basically as minimally direct guitar signals as possible. If I had to use them, I would be sure to try and make it sound as real as I could. I wanted the record to be the most live, real, in-your-face, microphone, speaker cab, kick drum slammin', freaking record I could make.
Also, if a song was in a certain guitar tuning, I would not play any other parts in different tunings on the same song. I used to do that and screwed myself quite a few times when trying to play a song live. This, in turn, made the production techniques simpler and not so drastic. I held off on all the blips and bloops in production. I wanted everything real as real could be, and basically tried to make it so all the songs could be pulled off live as a three-piece band. That is totally different than what "When The Aliens Come" was about.
David Martone: Yes. Dave and Daniel work very well together. They have been playing together before I even knew them. Their first band was something called "New Big Shoes." They just know when the other is about to do something musical, and just fit like a freaking puzzle. It is quite mind blowing actually!
David Martone: The recording process for a song usually went something like this.
I come up with the inception of the idea of the song. I rough it into the studio with some drum loops, and scratch parts. These scratch parts are rough, but the idea is there. Sometimes these rough parts actually make the record, because there is some magic with the way they came out. That happens sometimes when doing demos. From that point, I will make a few different mp3 files to send to Daniel. One will be with everything so he can hear the idea. The next will be with the mix minus the drums with a click track. And the last version might include drums, mix and click track.
From there, he will work on ideas for a while, then we come to Brainworks, set up all the drums and mike everything, and then blast away. We usually like to have two takes to work from. Then from there we will edit those two takes together into a comp.
Then I will rebuild or record keeper guitars again. Sometimes timing changes slightly with the addition of the new drums, which replaced the loop. I want to make sure it is as tight as possible.
Then the bass will get done. We play close attention to what the hell the kick drum is doing and try and lock to that as much as possible. After that, I do all the leads in the track, and wrap it up with the solo. From there the song will be mixed.
David Martone: Not long at all. We would usually do it in bursts of three songs at a time. I would always demo up the songs as I talked about previously. Then Daniel and myself would blast the drums, and Dave would come in after I had completed drum edits and put in keeper guitars. So there were times were many songs were being worked on simultaneously. It was actually quite a cool process. It was like watching 4-6 movies at the same time... starting one, stopping it, starting another, stopping that, going back to the first, etc. You might think that would get confusing but actually, it made things flow quite quickly. I think it took just over a year to put this album together. That is actually quite fast for me, but I just wanted to get this one done!
David Martone: Let's see:
2 Parker Fly Deluxe guitars
1 Parker Fly Classic
1 Parker Fly Mojo Classic Martone Custom
1 Parker Midi Fly
1 Fender Strat
1 Gibson Gothic Les Paul
1 Parker P8 Acoustic
1 Wechter Acoustic Nylon
1 Martone Custom Nylon
David Martone: Vox Valvetronix Head
Vox AC 15
Vox High Gain 50 watt head
Johnson JM150 combo 2 x12
Marshall 1x12 5210
SansAmp PSA 1
Digitech Genesis 3
Yamaha GW 50
Pigtronix Envelope Phaser
Route 66 Virtual Sound
David Martone: The solos are the least important to the song, but sometimes the most important thing people like to hear in the music. It is kinda strange since the guitar is really soloing through the whole tune right? Honestly, they are the least important to me and I usually do them last. How I do them is this. I will loop the solo section in my studio and just jam with it for a day. Usually I will get some ideas and record them down rough. If you heard some of these, you would be like... wow... that guy sucks!
But it is just the rough idea. The next day I will focus in on perfecting what I did the day before. I am always aware of drum shots and fills, and will match those some times. Not all the time, but it adds a certain coolness factor if things all punch at the same time! From there I will hopefully get more ideas and keep looping the solo until I get it. Sometimes it is a whole vibe pass through and I might fix a few things with punch ins, other times I might work section by section on the solo to work out a cool part. Then there are songs like "Turn On The Heater" which is like the second or third pass right through and I grabbed the whole thing and just left it!
A song like "Angel Fish" has some punches in the guitar solo. You would never know where they are, but I do. It's all in the disguise!
David Martone: The rhythm parts are very important! I make sure these things kick some serious ass. Well, the solo does also, but that is more widdly widdly stuff.
I spend a lot of time getting just the sound of the rhythm guitar parts. It all depends on the song. Take, for instance, the rhythm guitars in "Moron Face", I wanted then almost ugly and fuzzy sounding. I used a Vox VTX on a fuzz setting with a slight octave down boost on the sound. Whereas in other songs like "Hard Wired", I went for a much punchier tone. The guitar of choice is important here. I used the Les Paul for many of the rhythms on the record. It just seemed to give me what I want. It of course felt like an alien in my hands, so I struggled with it until I got the parts that I wanted.
For many of the other rhythm parts I used two amps to get the sound. I would use my Vanous Evolution set a bit darker, then I would use the Vox AC50CPH new high gain heads. I would mix these through the Radial Switchbone pedal paying very important attention to the phase. For more information on this read here.
David Martone: Hmmm. I never really thought of that but, yes, there are no keyboards on the record. I don't think there are anyway. Well, it goes back to wanting to make a record that was simple and playable by three dudes. I did not want to have to run Pro Tools when we play, like we have done in the past. Adding all the ear candy and production is cool, don't get me wrong, and I love it man, I really do, but for this record I wanted it almost live. Yes, I live for feel, and the keys did not fit in with what I was hearing in my head. I wanted live and miked everthing, nothing really direct at all. There are some parts that are direct, but for the most part, I wanted this signal chain:
Instrument -- Air or space -- Mike -- Cable -- Record!
This gives it a certain space, or three dimensional imagery in sound that helps the overall vibe I was going for. So that is why there are no keyboards!
David Martone: "The Goodie Squigge Song". I wanted a song that showed off the technique of the hair tie around the neck of my guitar. The song is in open G tuning with the scrunchie around the 5th fret to get all the harmonics. I wanted a boogie type feel as well. I think it is a very simple song, because there is not much to it. Daniel begs to differ and thinks I am retarded for saying that. Yeah, well, he made all his parts difficult to play so - who's the retard?
"Nail Grinder". Majestic chorus. Uplifting. Weird intro and bridge. WWE wrestling intro. There used to be these dudes called the Bushwackers. It was the WWF back then. I saw these dudes in my heads stomping out to the entrance riff and crushing some heads to those parts. Then that all went away in the chorus for the majestic parts. Kind of a weird song, but I just new this one would be special because of one word - Satch!
"Bossa Dorado". I love this song. Simple, melodic, memorable, Spanish, nylon guitars, ripping solo and cool sweeping outro. This direction is totally up my alley!
"Dinky Pinky". Ego, so many notes, it is stupid. Really. Who has to play that many notes. Like, what the hell do you have to prove? Showboating, yes. But WTF. I used the rolling hybrid technique. My hands hurt when I play this tune. I try not to play it too much. Billy on the bass was wicked! I bet his hands don't hurt.
"Coming Clean". My favorite song. Simple, melodic, emotional, no ego, just a very beautiful melody. Full of emotions from changes that happened with me. Healing.
"Hard Wired". Many, many shots and hits and pushes. Powerful, heavy and manly! Awesome solo by Greg Howe.
"If I was a Piano". A solo piece that is very visual to watch. Recorded with a tight double. Pan the track to hear nylon on one channel and steel guitar on the other. The ending builds and builds into the finale!
"Moron Face". A fun song. Just makes your body move. You can't help it! Tight powerfull chorus that grabs you by the face and punches you in the throat!
"Turn On The Heater". Power! Punch! Melody! Crunchy guitars, singing lead melody. Inspired by way too much heat in a studio melting our minds.
"Angel Fish". Simple, easy, melodic, a sunny day song to make you feel good!
"Fading into Change". The closing of this chapter of musical time. A repeat of what has been done in a different way, fading into the future.
David Martone: Yes. Joe and myself did a series of guitar videos for a company called workshoplive.com. We did these in San Francisco at the Plant recording studio. What a blast we had! They are guitar instructional videos where I was his cohort and we would banter back and forth about topics ranging from legato techniques to pentatonic chickens!
Watch here. There is a three year contract for these, so I believe I will be back doing more of them in January with Joe. I can't tell you how humbling it was and is to work with one of your mentors. Simply unbelievable! You can sign up for lessons here.
David Martone: I understand that we are all human. Sometimes people put others in god-like situations because of who they are. We have to remember that we are all just people. Some have achieved monumental goals but that should not diminish the accomplishments of others. I learned of what a genuine talent Joe is. Just a remarkable soul. No ego at all. Just an amazing person, and that comes out in his playing.
I got out technically that he loves the blues. He mentioned he has to play the blues every day to feel good! That made a lot of sense. He has a perfect mixture of so many things. I was shocked that everything he played, even when we were sitting there just jamming sounded amazing. Many parts were of songs he has written in the past. It was so cool to see and hear all of these parts. Joe is a very funny man as well. He has a great sense of humour and I would like to think I was there to help bring that out of him. One of the greatest experiences of my life so far. Thanks so much Joe!.
David Martone: Yes. That was a cool event. Martone had done a small tour across Canada ending with the Montreal Drum Festival. You can watch a sample clip here. This DVD actually was not even supposed to happen. It kinda just fell in our laps. We were at a production meeting at the festival the day before, and one of the producers mentioned we might be able to record the show. He told me to speak to the head camera guy.
I asked him and he said it would be possible. Then I asked how they would shoot it with the three cameras. He said, "One on the kick drum, one on the hats area and one kinda overhead." I said, "Oh, I see... OK, I don't think I will need it recorded then."
He then asked, "What group are you with?" I mentioned I was with Martone with Daniel Adair. Then he said, "Ohhhh, yes, we are going to shoot you guys differently. We will have a camera for each band member." I said, "Ohhhh, that is great!" So we discussed some techno mumbo jumbo with him and the sound guy. Basically what you see is what you get. They just took the live feed from the camera switcher that was showing on all the projections screens in the concert hall right to the recorder. The audio is a two channel board mix. So what you see and hear is what you get! Live as live gets. No overdubs. That is why I said. "Hope you enjoy this official bootleg of the concert."
We figured why not put it out. And honestly - it rocks!
David Martone: Well, first off let me start by saying it was an awesome experience! I worked with two cool producers named Gordini and Jeff Johnson. I learned that simple is way more effective in the pop world. For example, I would be doing preproduction in my studio and I'd send the big studio mp3 files of tracks I came up with before the tracking day. This way, they and I would have an idea of what we were going to put down. So the first time, I knew they wanted simple, and I played some really really simple examples. I had to fight every core of my body to not play what my fingers and brain wanted to! So I sent them away and awaited a reply.
Then I got it...
"Great ideas but they are way too busy and complicated!"
What? Wow... I tried to make them as simple as possible! So back I went and made it so simple that it was weird. It was almost making it like I sounded like I did not know what I was doing. Then it worked! Another thing was that more time was actually spent on achieving the correct guitar sound then actually playing the part. Playing the part was the easy thing. Getting the sound took hours sometimes.
Also, I realize that guitars suck greatly! All of them, especially in an environment where they want the tuning perfect. All guitars have this problem of being in tune for all chords on the guitar. Talk about tuning for each chord - my God!
Overall, the experience was amazing and I look forward to the next project! Please check out here for a much more detailed description with sound examples.
David Martone: We have a video coming out shortly for "The Goodie Squiggee Song". Also Parker will be making the signature Martone model guitar in the future. We are in talks at the moment. NAMM performances are around the corner, and we're looking at a tour hopefully for this album.
Check out the December issue of Guitar Player as well. They did a six page feature of me in there, and check out guitarplayertv.com
They will have the video examples up of the lessons sometime in December!
You can pick up the album at Magna Carta.
And above all... stay weird!