Monthly Archives: August 2014

I Would Ask Are You A Tree Frog?

ned

I miss CKLN. I loved that radio station at the very left end of the dial and the people who worked it and they had many incarnations since my long ago era, still over years there was a regular thread of on air voices telling Toronto what it is or could be “should be” – more enjoyable listening than most everything else. Favourite memory – a couple years after Spike Lee’s Do The Right thing someone made the fund drive slogan Do The Left Thing. They lost their license, which is a whole other blog post the size of something by Tolstoy, and so they created a new station and name – Ryerson Radio – and had to fight for their existence at CRTR public hearings. Then a whack of other business interests lined up wanting the coveted available location on the dial, guess they don’t come up often. I was asked to be on the panel advocating for their vision to remain a community radio station instead of another commercial station. Something funny about those judges, maybe to be a CRTC judge you have to prove you spent your summers in the Borg. kaspar Now there’s a film by Werner Herzog called The Enigma of Kasper Hauser, a German folk tale about a guy raised in a barn later as an adult set free in the world, who confounds people trying to sort out whether he is a simpleton or a genius. There is a memorable scene where a logician travels from away to meet Kaspar and test is reasoning. In the hearing at one point one of the judges singled me out “Mr. Wiseman, there is another station applying who claim they will represent Indie Music, which station would you rather be played on?” It was a Kaspar Hauser moment. “Both” I said and there was some laughter. I tried to explain that the station calling itself indie would be swell to be played on but let’s get real,  they have commercial funding and will never actually deliver the indie thing, seen this claim too many times before. But community radio will deliver and I’ll get played and I’ll be part of a wider community of interests. They didn’t want to hear that. So it goes. borg

Guest Post On Kapootie Preamps

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by TOM ST. LOUIS
re tweaking and all that….It’s cool that there
are ways to fix things….but I never wanted to
lose connection to that pre electricity world.
Did Sonnyboy Williamson use melodyne?

my whole subconscious assumption is that
I want to be able to do a perfect concert if
the power grid goes down.

I am not sure I ever heard bad drumming tweaked
to where it’s now good drumming…but that whole
vibe time groove thing is endlessly mysterious
to me.

a metronome has no soul…it’s too good. so it sucks.
but this drummer over here…his meter is awesome,
but um, no, not like a metronome.

huh?

Steve Gad? Well…his high hat is a bit ahead
and his kick is a bit behind and that’s why…
really?

spent a couple of days in Calgary recently
and the engineer would not stop effusing over gary
craig’s ridiculous chops….and let’s face it. they
are ridiculous.

producing is fun….but I need a good knob twiddler or
I’m lost.

regarding bullshitting people about technical
chops….

behold the engineer..who has to show off his ear
to intimidate the musicians into obsessively tuning
their guitars.

behold the producer who insists the only way to do
something is with this super dooger…b16 H XL kapootie
pre amp..or whatever…nothing but my way is anything!

When I was just under 6, my mother sent me to get
a hair cut down at the corner.

The barber cut my hair in about two minutes…and then
indulged in this absurd ritual of alleged mini snips all
over the place. This performance lasted at least an
additional five minutes.

I got it in one smart little rat that I was..preemptive
positioning. don’t be thinking your mom can do
this.

first time I worked with a “big producer”, and I guess
only time was when the angels demo, done at manta
in an afternoon got EMIs attention. wait. are you a
big producer? okay, so I worked with a big producer
only this year for five enjoyable minutes.

naturally they had to do it over…so Richard Gottehrer
was called in and he had produced Joan Armatrading
don’t you now. You know Joan, right, the Winnipeg
shove the mic up the cooze lady?

So, he came to my house to watch a rehearsal.
Then we recorded. I was watching for something
anything to indicate some higher perception/acuity
relating to music. I did not see it. One time he jumped
up to come down on a note we were all going to
come down on. so what was that…flamboyant
conducting?

Paul Gellman…seemed impressed. He played piano
on a song…and said something about working with
a “real” producer. What was real? What was I missing?
Arm waving?

Mr. Gottehrer said stop go let’s do it again…all the things
I had been saying all along!

And when the dust settled….$15k had been spent
on a recording not nearly as good as the dang
demo which created all the excitement in the first
place.

Doing Jim’s stuff at Noble Street…there were a
couple of times when I should have done and said
a little more. But on at least two occasions, I had to
stop the song from rolling away in the wrong direction,
and I pretty much think that is what happens to most
songwriters in the studio their first go. It gets away
from them because there is nobody to say…woah,
hold on….

good smart musicians who understand vibe and
lyric and whatnot get the wrong idea and have to
be stopped and reflighted…that is a part of
producing.

what I recently discovered is that what I particularly
enjoy and am good at is…sculpting parts….
so now somebody has to ask me again…I
think I might bet this producing thing.

first (client A)…great session with George Kohler
and a drummer I would not have chosen…..
and then meltdown/shrieking, okay goodbye.

then my pal (client B) ….and him basically making his record
into a clusterfuck theme park and wanting to believe
that there’s no difference between following a plan
and just getting your rocks off…

if anyone ever asks me again, I’m going to have
to get a formal signed agreement….

en tous cas…the Sam Christmas song keeps
repeating on me…tell Magali to make it stop…
those chimey notes…