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The Back Room Boys

Pooch had been coming to my studio for over 10 years; mostly to rehearse but once in awhile to lay down some studio tracks. Late in 2015 he booked some time to record a few studio tracks. The project was not really defined but eventually grew into the “New Moon Smile” album. And when I say grew it really grew; we were looking at a few tracks at first and by the end we had a thirteen track album.

Pooch was in the habit of bringing in any and all of his friends for these sessions regardless of their musical experience (this continues on the “Hello Brooklyn” sessions). Often musicians play on tracks with other players they have never met before. The skill level varies greatly but everyone who participates does their best and generally enjoy themselves. Sometimes we are all very focused on the tasks at hand but there is a lot of joking around and laughing.

Early on Joe became very involved in New Moon. At first he was playing acoustic guitar and later on some bass. Gradually Joe started coming down even when he was not slated to record anything and became another opinion in the room. The recording process is not the hard part; it is when all the tracks and instruments are laid down and the mixing begins that the real work begins. As I have explained many times to Pooch (and I know he still does not get it) each instrument has its own frequency and this cannot come in conflict with each other…it's all techno stuff you don’t need to know. But then there are volume, affects, pitch, etc…and then you add in Pooch’s and Joe’s opinion of the sound….and it gets very complicated very fast. Another layer of complexity is added if the song itself is complicated – for example “Jodi’s Shoes” or “Funk 62” (which was the most difficult song on either album).

I jokingly referred to Joe, Pooch and I as the Backroom Boys as we often sat in the control room away from the musicians and planned out the session. The sessions for Brooklyn started on December 13, 2017 (Pooch’s birthday ) and we were joined by a surprise guest: Pooch’s lovely and amazingly patient girlfriend Nancy. There have been dozens of sessions since then and she has missed 2-3. The sessions are four hours long for the most part and we do one instrument at a time; there is never a band playing the whole song all the way through. It can be very boring (Pooch has fallen asleep on occasion). Because Brooklyn is all originals and the songs are being written and arranged from scratch there is a lot of room for discussion about what goes where, how it should be played, what instruments should be used, etc…there is no guideline or blueprint on how the final song will sound. Pooch does demos of each song at home on his little studio there. Some are simple and others are really complex and well developed. But as each song is created Nancy, Joe and I as well as each of the musicians, gets some input into how the song is created but of course Pooch, in his own humble way, has the final say.

So the backroom “boys” are now the four of us: Joe, Nancy, Pooch and yours truly. We all work together to make the best possible track and I hope you enjoy our work.

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