Tag Archive: studio


Dan Roark, Lou Castro, Ryan Brown

My oldest son, Conner, an audio engineer and owner of Refrigerator Records, and I arrived at Mikal Reid’s studio in Woodland Hills, California. We had come out the night before to get everything ready. So it didn’t take Conner too long to get things set up.

When Conner told me he had Lou Castro, noted LA session musician,

Ryan Brown, Lou Castro, Dan Roark

and Ryan Brown, drummer for Dweezil Zappa, lined up to play on my cd, I was elated, as you can understand. I had not expected to play with that level of talent. And I didn’t know what they would think of my songs.

Lou Castro

I sent Lou and Ryan the songs I wanted to record. A couple of days later, I talked to Lou and he said he liked my songs. So I felt a little better, but I hadn’t talked to Ryan. So I’m in the studio playing guitar and warming up while Conner sets up the mics and headphones. About twenty minutes later there was a knock on the door. It was Ryan Brown. Lou was going to arrive a little later. Conner let him in. Before I had a chance to react, Ryan walked up to me.

Ryan Brown

“Are you Dan?” I nodded. “I like your music. Awesome songs.”

I was blown away, to say the least. While Ryan was setting up the drums the way he wanted them, Lou arrived and got set up with his bass. After Conner got all the levels set, we started the session with the Aardvark song. Once we began playing, all nervousness left me and it was just fun.

Dan Roark

Four to five hours later, we had nine songs done, a couple on the first two takes. We didn’t take any breaks. Mainly because I got so involved in playing that I didn’t think about it. Nobody else said anything either. When you have a groove going, no reason to stop.

Except that after three hours of straight playing and singing, I felt a cramp in my right hand gaining intensity. My voice was sounding rough. We weren’t using the vocal track anyway, but I was still straining my vocal chords. The cramping was a more immediate issue.

I made it through the nine songs. I only had eleven in mind. Of the two we didn’t get recorded, one was a song I already had recorded, but wanted to redo it. The other song was more of an acoustic song anyway.

We spent the next hour talking about music and telling stories while Conner transferred the files to his hard drive. As well as comparing music scenes. It was a very pleasant way to end a good day of recording – with the exception of the throbbing in my hand.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

 

In less than a week I’ll be in North Hollywood. I have eight shows in ten days, while recording during the day on six of those days. I have the good fortune to have noted LA bassist, Lou Castro, playing on my cd. Not to mention Ryan Brown, Dweezil Zappa’s drummer. Then there is Jimena Fosado, one of the hottest young guitarists in LA. With my son, Conner as engineer and producer. Conner also owns Refrigerator Records.

As if that wasn’t enough, I play at Rumi Cafe on Thursday and Friday. Then Tribal Cafe on Sunday and Ireland’s 32 on Monday. The Cork Lounge on Tuesday, then Guitar Merchant on Wednesday. Back at Rumi on Thursday and Friday. The Saturdays are in the works.

If you would like pre-order the cd, Hello Out There, you can do so on the store page of my website. Buying anything else in my store would also help with expenses.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Last night I went to Bedford for the Movie Tavern micro music festival. Dillon Moses was the host. They also have a micro music festival at the Movie Tavern in Denton on Thursday. With every performer playing four to six songs, and a relaxed atmosphere, it really was more like a micro music festival.

I seemed to be the only one who wasn’t from the “neighborhood.” There’s some good, young, local talent in the area judging from what I saw and heard.  We entertained the crowd having a few drinks before their showing of Thor came around.

I usually have a standing appointment on Thursday nights. It was called off for this week, so I headed to Bedford. With a recording session in LA coming up next week, I figure I can’t practice too much and there is no better way of doing it than playing an open mic, micro music festival, showcase, or the like. My plan is to play tonight at Mex-Go on Central in Allen. Then the LSA Burger Co. open mic in Denton on Monday, New Faces Tuesday at Love and War in Texas, Plano in the heated patio, and Songwriters Night at Guitars and Growlers in Richardson on Wednesday.

Then home to get ready for an early morning flight on Thursday that will begin ten days in LA. Which will include eight shows – a mixture of open mics and showcases – with an eye for setting up shows for a future trip. It will also include six days in the studio – an entire post in itself.

So come on out and join me at any of the places I’m playing through Wednesday. Come to listen or play. They’ve all got good food and drinks.

Keep writing the songs that are in your heart.

Peace be with you.

Dan in Studio The ice almost gone here in Dallas. Of course people still drive like there is ice on the road. And others are too busy talking on their cell phone to be bothered with other drivers and those pesky pedestrians. Does it sound like I’ve been holed up with teenagers for several days? With Conner – who lives by himself – calling at night to complain about the people who did not tip after he had slid from curb to curb at times to get there. And he had a point – when you order delivery in inclement weather, you need to keep in mind that you’re making the driver do what you don’t want to. And show appreciation.

All that is to say that not having to go into work is not much comfort to someone who works at home, which applies to both Cyndy and myself. Add to that a cold, and that I had to postpone a recording session on Saturday, and let’s just say I’m glad this patch of bad weather is behind us. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for folks in the northeast. The weather we had was light in comparison to what they’re experiencing now.

Be that as it may, the recording resumes tomorrow. When we were in the studio theConner - Studio last time, I played the acoustic songs on guitar without vocals. Which was not what I previously had in mind. But my Alvarez acoustic doesn’t have a pickup and sound would bleed between the two mics.

Playing without singing is harder than one would imagine. Particularly when that’s the way you’ve been playing for years. At first I tried to hear the song in my head, but that did not work. So I had to mouth the words while playing – which led to some vocal bleed over into the guitar track when I actually made sounds instead of merely mouthing the words. But it can be fixed in the mixing process.

Band in Studio And when the band arrived at 2 p.m. and Steve began setting up the drums, we discovered that the studio drum kit lacked a snare drum. We had to wait for Cameron to go to Guitar Center and buy one. When we finally got to recording, things went back to running smoothly and we got the songs recorded.

Tomorrow I will add guitar and vocal parts, as well as other instruments. Hopefully, everything will go well. I’d be interested to hear how others have handled recording snafus. I’ve never been in the studio when there was not a problem of some sort.

Peace be with you.Studio

Conner and Dan in the Studio I was at the Patrick McGuire Recording Studio last Friday, working on songs for my new CD. Randy Talbert, Steve Smith, and John Tepper of the praise band at church played on three songs. My oldest son, Conner, who also plays with the praise band when his schedule allows, played guitar on several songs. Cameron, the middle son, helped with taking pictures, videos, and assisting the engineer. He also plays with the praise band and helps with sound. The session went well and I’ll discuss it later, perhaps, but I want to back up a bit.

While I was getting ready to go into the studio, I naturally thought about Joel Nichols, my musical partner of twenty-five years until he died in 1999. We recorded our last CD in 1996. My wife, Cyndy, introduced me to Bruce Gibson, and later to Joel when he came home from college at Scarritt in Nashville. When the three of us began to gel as a band, I moved out to Nashville while Joel was attending his last year at school. We lived with two other people in the top half of a house that had been around for fifty years, had been home to a hippie commune, and no longer exists.

Joel and I were driving around Nashville in his car one morning. After stopping for John Tepper in Studio coffee, we continued on our journey, going over several bumps and through several turns. Throughout the drive, I managed to keep from spilling my coffee by acting as a human gyroscope. Then I made a mistake. After we we went through the next dip, I turned to Joel and opened my mouth.

“I haven’t spilled a drop. I’m pretty good.”

A short while later, Joel grinned and slammed on the breaks. Coffee soaked the front of my last clean shirt. And going to the laundry mat had not been in my immediate plans. I objected, but the more I objected, the more he laughed. Seemingly in an increasing vindictive manner.

I was somewhat used to taking crap for my stuttering. But a prank like that from someone I considered my closest friend was painful. It illustrated that even the best of friends have a few, even if small, irreconcilable differences. The darker side of their personality that you hope you seldom see and avoid if you see it coming. Joel’s vindictive prankster side was one of those sides of his personality that switched my defensive tendencies into high gear.

photo When I continued to object, Joel realized how much it bothered me, and he apologized. Despite the times when our personalities conflicted, there were more good times than bad times in our twenty+ years of making music together. Going into the studio reminded me of the good music we made together. When I play the old songs, I can still hear him playing his part. I am playing both parts in the studio and I hope I do him justice.

Peace be with you.

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