Tommy’s drum-chill factor

Last night at Cue Recording, Tommy Barrick, Pete Ostle, and I put down the rhythm tracks for two more Chaise Lounge songs.

One is an instrumental currently called “Celestial Navigation.” Seeing as that title got catcalls from engineer Ken Schubert, I seriously doubt the name is going to stick, but the piece is a keeper. This is an original—one of our patented vocalese songs where Marilyn sings in unison with trombone. It has something Pat Metheny-like about it (not that ANYONE would mistake my guitar playing for his!).

The other track we put down is an an instrumental arrangement of “Old Man River.” It is a drum feature. The tempo/click we recorded at was mm 152—that is, 152 beats per minute.  But the entire chart is written to be played with a double-time swing feel. So it’s sort of like the wind-chill factor today: it’s 20 degrees out but *feels* like 8. The click track we used was 152 but felt like 304, which is pretty much as fast as I can possibly play. This speed is especially incongruous because “Old Man River” is traditionally played as a ballad. In the top left corner of the chart where it should give some indication of the tempo, e.g., “Largo,” we scribbled “Tempo de Tear-Ass.” Tommy killed it. He took a 32-bar solo in the middle of the song that is just beautiful. It is melodic, funny, interesting; all the things you might think a drum solo could not be. That ’60s Gretsch kit of his got a workout last night!

-Charlie

What the new year brings…

Ask any musician about January and you will get a grim smile, reflecting a woefully empty gig calendar. It has ever been thus. What to do about this? Start your next record! Well, that is what Chaise Lounge is doing, anyway. We began the new album in earnest last night with rhythm section recording sessions at Cue Recording in Falls Church, Virginia. Ken Schubert is engineering.

As we were putting together the list of new songs to record, I was amazed at how many we have. Also I was reminded of how many times people have asked for recordings of these songs and I have blithely tossed off, “Oh, that will be on the next CD.” “The Coolest Car” is one of those. Another is “I Just Want All Of My Stuff.” Maybe the most-requested unrecorded song is Gary’s solo piece, “Losing Streak.” All of them are coming soon. I’m not completely sure yet, but I think the new album will be called “Dot, Dot, Dot.”  Yes, that song too is coming.

The first session was a delight. It was great to get back in the studio. And it felt good to dig into the fine details of some of those tunes. “Via Con Me” is a deceptively tricky song to play well. If the tempo is not exactly right it doesn’t work. We have also unearthed some of our back catalog for this. Who remembers “Celestial Navigation”? I think we played that twice…maybe at IOTA? Well, here it comes. And there is a song about a wrecked Airstream trailer (title still in flux)—who remembers this? It may be the saddest song in the world; too sad, we decided, to play much live.

Last year we released two records (Insomnia, A Very Chaise Lounge Christmas). This year, it will be only one. But I have a feeling it will be a doozy.

—Charlie