Hell, the first of my four (sometimes five) recording projects, is all but finished. It is also the first of two such projects begun 40 years ago. To recap:
I arrived in Los Angeles on June 13th, 1975. Phil Kemp and Pat Meehan were waiting for me at the downtown Greyhound Station. I had returned form Toronto to do a job with Phil and Pat. In fact we set to work almost immediately. I had a notebook filled with songs I had written in Canada. Back then, I played a 1965 Olympic white Fender Stratocaster. Phil had been studying recording and was prepared to put what he had learned into practice. Pat had become a fine drummer, muscular and lyrical both. Calling ourselves the Wat, we began recording an album. Or two.
Our recordings were never properly completed, however. I blame myself; there has hardly been a week in which I did not wonder how I will finish those recordings. There were many impediments. There were, that is, until Apple computers began including a free digital recording studio (GarageBand) in every Mac.
We changed the ungainly name The Wat to the much more gainly WatThe? and added veteran LA New Wave bass player Richard d’Andrea to the band. Richard worked very hard for three years to learn the songs, and to arrange and record bass parts. He was also tireless in providing expert advice on the recording and mixing processes. Pat Meehan, has bailed on the project, however. Much to my dismay. This fine musician who has been by my side for so many years simply cannot play like he used to. Enough is enough.
Though I categorize what we were playing 40 years ago as Proto New Wave, I was surprised to find how much of it it is not too different from the acoustic music I play today. Not all of it, however. In retrospect, the album could be categorized as Fairport Convention’s Full House meets the Who’s Live at Leeds.
I’ve been completing the final mixes with Fernando Flores at his studio, Chromaphonic Recording, here in Yreka.
L to R: DNL, Pat Meehan, Phil Kemp and Richard d’Andrea
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